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Five-Spice Chicken with Mushrooms & Noodles

June 23, 2009
by

Follow Up (6/24/09): I just had this for lunch again today and it kicked my behind again. Be careful with the chili you use for this, and don’t use the seeds if you don’t want it to be that spicy.

With all of the various Asian-influenced cooking I try to do, I’ve omitted a key seasoning blend of Chinese cuisine, five-spice powder. I decided to rectify that last week by picking up a small jar of the blend at Penzey’s and looking up a few recipes for how to incorporate it into a dish. I came across many recipes that used it in more of a dry-rub application for grilling, but finally settled on my own stir fry. I used the proportions of marinade from this recipe, and took on the rest by myself. This was quite spicy (like hot) but also had a bit of overkill in the spice (like autumn) department. The recipe I am printing here is a little differently proportioned to get a bit more savory and a little less cinnamon-sweet flavor into the dish. Taste this often as you go, and make corrections as you see fit for the overall seasoning.

Five-Spice Chicken with Mushrooms & Noodles (Serves 2)

  • 2 tbsp. oyster sauce (Chinese or Cantonese – not the spicy blend)
  • 1/2 tbsp. five-spice powder
  • 1 tbsp. dark Asian sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce (dark preferred, but any real soy sauce will do)
  • 1 tbsp. brown (preferred) or white sugar
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely or crushed
  • 1 tbsp. freshly minced ginger
  • 1 dried red Thai or Chinese chili, crushed
  • 1/2 lb.  boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced into very thin strips
  • 1 lb. shiitake or baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/2 cup carrots cut into matchsticks
  • tops of 7-8 scallions cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 small shallot, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1/4 lb. udon (or any thicker pasta – we actually used linguini)
  • olive oil or cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Mix first 9 ingredients and pour over chicken in plastic bag. Seal and marinate at least 2 hours up to overnight.
  2. Remove chicken from bag and set aside, pour leftover sauce into dish or measuring cup for use later, adding another tablespoon of soy sauce.
  3. Set water to boil for noodles, add salt and cook noodles to just slightly before the “al dante” stage.
  4. While water boils, heat olive oil or cooking spray in wok or saute pan over medium-high heat. Once pan is ready, add chicken and cook only for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  5. Add more olive oil or cooking spray to pan and add shallot, carrots, and mushrooms. Turn heat down to medium, and cover pan for 5-6 minutes or until mushrooms have reduced in size slightly.
  6. Uncover pan, and return chicken to the pan.  Add scallion and continue to cook until chicken is cooked just through. Add noodles and remaining sauce and cook until heated through and sauce is evenly distributed.
  7. Serve and season to taste with more soy sauce as needed.

I found this dish to be quite tasty, and very hot and spicy. The reception of this dish was not universal, however, and Elysabeth did not like it.  She decided to make a turkey burger instead due to the original overwhelming spice flavor and the texture on the ingredients.  Though it’s a bummer that we couldn’t eat together, I have a nice leftover for lunch tomorrow!

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