Sichuan Chicken Salad (Bang Bang Ji Si)
I discovered this dish a lot of years ago - a lot of truth, I just felt older than cough - when I returned from a trip to China, I became obsessed with some of the flavors I had discovered there (and they didn't look like anything sweet and sour pork). My synophile journey took me to L'Olla de Sichuan, where besides meeting again with the eggplants or the hotpot From my loves I discovered other dishes from different regions that confirmed my love story with the cuisine of this country.
Here it is called “Sichuanese chicken salad” -in Pinyin Bang Bang Ji Si, because of the noise that was made before hitting the chicken breasts so that they became tender-, but it looks much more like what we know as pickled, both because of the cheerful proportion of vinegar with respect to western dressings and because of green either It has too much. But the fascinating thing about this dish is that it achieves that two elements that have just been mixed a few minutes ago have a flavor transmission that seems to take days. How? The maceration of the spices in the sauce for a few days greatly enhances its flavor, and tearing the chicken instead of cutting it has just finished the play. I have taken some license adapting ingredients - such as spicy paprika instead of dried Chinese chili - because the difference in the final taste is not so much that no one gives up doing something so delicious for not having chiles on hand.
Be careful with the amount of pepper you use, especially if it's from Sichuan. It is better to be cautious, since the acid in vinegar acts as a catalyst for its peculiar itching, which slightly sleeps the tongue and can make it seem like you just felt from the dentist (in addition to having a camphoric touch that can be very annoying).
When you see the salad served for the first time, it is very easy to think that it has too much dressing and it will be very oily, but the trick so that all these juices soak the meat just but do not soak it is in the tool with which it is eaten: the chopsticks . When taking small portions with them the excess drains - it can be helped by giving a small shake before removing it from the top of the plate, something that will also thank your clothes if you have a tendency to stain - and the chicken reaches the perfect mouth. It is taken as is, as a cold dish, but it is also great inside a sandwich - with pickled Chinese cabbage is a real madness - or with thin rice noodles, vermicelli type.
Chop the garlic and ginger.
For the dressing (gives as for two salads)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- A piece of about 2 cm of ginger
- 75 ml soy sauce
- 75 ml of black vinegar (if not available, 50 ml of white wine vinegar)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- A spoonful of sugar
- Pepper -normal or Sichuan- to taste
- 100 ml sunflower oil with spicy paprika -or Chinese chili powder- to taste
- 8 chicken drumsticks
- Chinese onion to taste
- Coriander to taste
- 12 dried Judas ear mushrooms
- Optional: lettuce in small pieces and grated carrot
- Peel garlic and chop it. Do the same with ginger. Mix both with vinegar, soy, sugar, pepper and salt. Put it in a jar with a lid and take it to the fridge for three or four days, shaking the jar occasionally. Strain and mix with the oil in which we will have dissolved paprika to taste (it is easily done by stirring it in another closed jar, starting with a small amount, testing and increasing until you find the point).
- Hydrate judas ears in cold water for at least three hours (or overnight in the fridge)
- Bring the boiling countermuscles from a couple of liters of cold water - with a little salt - for about 20 minutes (after it boils). Let the contramuslos cool in the broth.
- When they are cold, take them out and reserve the broth for another preparation. Break them by tearing them with your hands - in the direction of the fibers - into pieces of about two or three centimeters.
- In a bowl or large bowl, mix the chicken with half of the vinaigrette, well-drained Judas ears, coriander and Chinese onion (only the green part and cut on the bias). If you want, add carrot and lettuce. Give it a few turns so that the chicken is soaked well and, if you like, top off with a little more cilantro and scallions.