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Dinner and a Movie: 'A Christmas Story” and Chinese food

The Food Dude serves up Christmas with dinner and a movie.
by Dave Cathey Published: December 18, 2012

1½ cups cornstarch

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 cups peanut or vegetable oil for frying, plus 1 tablespoon for stir-frying

6 dried whole chiles de arbol

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds

Six green onions thinly sliced


1 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

2 egg whites


¼ cup chicken stock

1½ tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon sambal oelek

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

In a large mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, egg whites then add the chicken. Let stand 20 to 30 minutes.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the chicken stock, tomato paste, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, sambal, sesame oil, sugar, and the 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set the sauce aside.

In a large bowl, toss the 1½ cups cornstarch with the salt and pepper. Coat the marinated chicken in the cornstarch and shake off any excess before frying.

Heat the 3 cups of peanut or vegetable oil in a heated wok to 350 degrees on an instant-read oil thermometer. Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the first batch of chicken cubes and fry until golden brown on the outside and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.

Drain the oil into a heatproof container and save for discarding. Wipe the wok with a paper towel to remove any brown bits, but don't wash.

Reheat the wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the base and sides. Add the dried chilis and garlic to the wok and stir-fry until just fragrant, about 20 seconds. Pour in the sauce mixture and stir until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Return the chicken to the wok and stir well to coat with sauce. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Garnish with white sesame seeds and green onions.

Serve with steamed white or fried rice.

SOURCE: Adapted from a recipe in Diana Kuan's “The Chinese Takeout Cookbook.” (Ballantine, 2012)

Egg Foo Young


For the Gravy

¾ cup chicken stock

1½ teaspoons soy sauce

1½ hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water

For the pancakes

2 tablespoons peanut oil

3 or 4 shiitake or cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced

5 green onions, whites and greens separated

1½ cups bean sprouts

¼ chopped Chinese-style sausage (available at Chinatown Supermarket and Super Cao Nguyen Market

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil or chili oil

6 eggs


Make the gravy first, by heating a small saucepan and bringing the chicken stock to a boil in it. Reduce to a simmer, and stir in the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, cornstarch slurry. Simmer another minute until the sauce thickens. Keep warm on lowest heat and cover. You might need to kill the heat completely from time to time as you make the rest.

Heat a wok over medium-high heat about about a minute. To test, flick a bead of water on the surface. If it evaporates immediately, the wok is ready.

Add a tablespoon of peanut oil and swirl the wok so the bottom is coated. Add the mushrooms, onion whites, and bean sprouts and stir-fry until the mushrooms and sprouts soften and the onions are fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Toss in the sausage and combine thoroughly. Stir in the soy sauce and sesame or chili oil and cook another minute, making sure the sauce is evenly distributed. Remove from heat and place in a cool bowl. Let stand until mixture has cooled enough to add the eggs without cooking them.

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl with a little water and stir in the cooled vegetables and sausage.

Heat the remaining oil in the wok over medium heat. Working in batches, ladle a ¼ cup of the egg mixture in the wok and let spread into pancake shape. Cook until eggs have set, flipping once, no more than 2 minutes.

Transfer the finished eggs to a warmed plate and cover. Repeat until the mixture is exhausted, adding more oil to the wok as necessary.

Drizzle the eggs with gravy or serve it on the side. Garnish with remaining green onion.

SOURCE: Adapted from Diana Kuan's “The Chinese Takeout Cookbook.”

by Dave Cathey
Food Editor
The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene.
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