Bruce ZabovCooking Corner

One-dish Chinese Dinner

by Bruce Zabov

Cooking CornerBefore I forget again to mention it, a friend took one look at the recipe a few months back for Tuna Pie and immediately thought it could be made using leftover chicken or shrimp instead of the tuna. Either of those variations of the original sound terrific to me, too!

To move on to this issue, this one-dish dinner is a variation of the red-cooked dishes so popular in all regions of China. They all have in common the seasoning of soy sauce as one of the ingredients central to them, but there are also some regional variations. In Shanghai they contain sugar, in Peking just the soy sauce is favored and in Szechwan they are made hot and rich, full of garlic, ginger and scallions or green onions with a flash of hot red pepper.

A dish with those flavors nails my attention hard and fast as I’m one of those people who will use garlic and hot pepper in just about everything but coffee, whipped cream or ice cream.

The One-Dish Chinese Chicken Dinner has been pared down from traditional Chinese red -cooked dishes to appeal to a wider range of tastes and preparation is straight-forward without a lot of fuss and detailing. After it is assembled, it can simmer over low heat on top of the stove or in a 350-degree oven for 45-60 minutes while the cook relaxes with family and friends.

The dish can be cooked ahead of time and reheated at serving time. It can be served by itself or, as we prefer it, with hot fluffy rice to soak up the lavish and flavorsome sauce. To do this, simply prepare 1 cup of plain rice for 4-6 servings according to your preferred method and set aside to re-heat at serving time.

One Dish Chinese Dinner

  • 1 chicken, washed in cold running water, cut into serving pieces
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, cut in quarters and then across into slices
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat edge of your knife
  • 4-5 slices of washed fresh ginger root
  • 2-3 medium potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, washed and snapped into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 C sherry, optional

Place all ingredients in a large, heavy skillet or Dutch oven. An electric frying pan works nicely for this and frees up the cook as well. On top of the stove, bring to the boil. Then lower the heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 45-60 minutes. Or transfer to the oven for the same amount of time at 350 degrees. Serve with your pre-cooked rice, if using. Serves 4-6.

Next issue: Home-made Holiday Poultry Stuffing