Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Almond Boneless Chicken aka War Su Gai
War Su Gai is a Chinese-American dish consisting of deep-fried chicken that is coated with flavorful gravy and garnished with almonds. Although not widely available, it's a specialty in Detroit, Michigan, Columbus, Ohio, and no doubt a few other areas. In this version I've used oyster sauce in the marinade to lend extra flavor to the cooked chicken. Feel free to vary the vegetables, for example replacing half the mushrooms with water chestnuts.
War Su Gai
4 chicken breast halves
¼ tsp. salt, or to taste
Black pepper to taste
2 tsp. oyster sauce
¼ c. flour
¼ c. cornstarch
¾ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. finely diced green onion
1 large egg
2 – 3 tbsp. water, or as needed to form a smooth batter
2 ½ c. reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 oz. fresh sliced mushrooms (1 – 1 ¼ cups)
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 tbsp. Rice wine or dry sherry
3 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with enough water to make a slurry
Oil as needed for deep-frying
2 leaves Romaine lettuce, thinly sliced, or as desired
¼ c. sliced almonds, or to taste
Rinse the chicken breasts halves and pat dry. Rub the salt, pepper and oyster sauce over the chicken. Place in the refrigerator to marinate while preparing the other ingredients.
To make the batter, combine the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder in a bowl, stirring to make sure the baking powder is mixed in evenly. Stir in the chopped green onion. Add the egg, then enough water to make a smooth batter.
To deep-fry the chicken: Heat the oil in a wok or electric wok to 375. Coat a chicken breast in the batter, and then carefully add to the deep-fry oil. Cook for 6 - 7 minutes on one side, then turn over and deep-fry on the other side until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through 10 - 15 minutes total. (You will probably need to cook the chicken in batches). Drain the deep-fried chicken on paper towels or on a tempura rack.
To make the sauce: bring the chicken broth to a boil on medium heat. Add the mushrooms and chopped celery. Bring to a boil. Stir in the rice wine or sherry. Give the cornstarch slurry a quick re-stir, then pour it in and stir quickly until the sauce thickens.
To serve, cut the chicken into thin slices and arrange on the lettuce. Pour the sauce over and garnish with the almonds.