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CHICKEN SZECHUAN-STYLE WITH SESAME PASTE

Category:    Chinese, Chicken, Appetizers
Yield:6 servings
 
      2    Whole chicken beasts,               3    Slices fresh ginger, minced
           Skinned and boned                   1    Scallion (white part only),
      2 tb Szechuan peppercorns                     Chopped
      4 tb Sesame paste                        1 cl Garlic, minced fine
      3 tb Green tea                       1 1/2 tb Dry sherry or
      2 tb Wine vinegar                             Shaoshing wine
  2 1/2 ts Soy sauce                         1/2 ts Cayenne pepper
      3 tb Peanut oil                               Lettuce leaves
      2 ts Crushed red pepper *           
 
  *  or you substitute 2 whole chili peppers, crushed. In a pot, poach the
  chicken breasts in a little boiling water for 10 minutes until white and
  opaque. In a dry frying pan, toast the Szechuan peppercorns over moderate
  heat, then crust or grind them; set aside. Remove the chicken breasts from
  the pot, drain and cool them.  Slice them, then shred the slices into
  julienne pieces. In a mixing bowl, combine the sesame paste and green tea
  (or the peanut butter and sesame oil -- See NOTE). Add the vinegar and soy
  sauce; blend well. Add the peanut oil, red pepper, ginger, scallion,
  garlic, sherry, cayenne pepper, and the peppercorns. Mix all ingredients
  very well. Toss the chicken strips in this sauce, to coat. Refrigerate
  until 20 minutes before serving. Pass the chicken and the lettuce leaves
  separately, and let each guest place a small portion of the chicken in the
  middle of a lettuce leaf and roll it up like an egg roll to eat using
  fingers.  Makes 6 appetizer servings.
  
  NOTE:  The authentic recipe calls for green tea to thin the sesame seed
  paste,
       but you may substitute chicken broth, or simply water, if you prefer.
       Another substitution you may make if you wish is peanut butter for the
       sesame seed paste along with sesame oil instead of green tea.
       This dish is served cold or at room temperature and can be made a day
       ahead . -- Verdi
 

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