If you have been paying attention then you know that Chinese food is on my list. They sell it here but it is crap. In the bathroom for days afterward kind of crap. While poring through the magazines that C had left for me Juanito and I came across a picture of a chicken dish. His immediate response was make that Mommy! I looked at the title: Asian Chicken Thighs. Hhmm, I dont know about that. A quick look at the ingredients and I ascertained that with a few adjustments it might be doable. So for my fellow exiles who are craving some Chinese take out give this a try:
2 chicken legs cut up. The recipe calls for thighs only, but Juanito loves a drumstick and you can get legs on sale at Selectos sometimes for $1.09.
2 fingers of dulce. This is how I know I have been here too long. I measure with body parts. Just cut a piece off of the end. This is a substitute for 1/4 cup brown sugar. You can find dulce in the mercado at stores where dry goods like beans and rice are sold. You know its right if it is wrapped in a corn husk.
Splash of OJ. But dont use OJ, it is too expensive. Buy a small bottle of jugo de valle. Splash about 2 tbsp and then drink the rest.
2 tbsp of soy sauce. Super Selectos has it in the same aisle as the catsup.
2 tbsp of catsup.
1 tbsp of vinegar. The recipe says white. I used pineapple. Gives it a little sweetness plus it is cheaper.
Minced garlic cloves. How many is up to you.
2 tsp flour. They say cornstarch but good luck finding that here. Buy the little bag of harina de trigo for a buck. Anything bigger and it will go bad on you before you use it all up.
1 packet of chicken consomme and one of an all spice. I used Maggis mi Sazon. I didnt even bother trying to find the Chinese five spice powder that the recipe called for.
They also wanted green onions to garnish. We dont have that here. I used a half a head of broccolli to give it color.
The rest is easy. Take the skin off of the chicken and fry it in some oil for about 5 minutes on each side. With 1/3 cup of water combine all of the other ingredients except the flour and broccolli. Whisk them together. Dont worry about the dulce, it will break down once you start heating it up. Pour it over the chicken, bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for about 1/2 an hour. Toss in the broccolli for the last 5 minutes. Mix the flour with 2 tsp of cold water and then add it to the sauce to thicken it up. For Juani I served it over some jalapeno white rice, just to give it a little extra kick. Not blowing sunshine into any orifices, but it really did taste just like General Tsaos chicken. The only thing missing was an eggroll.
As our numbers here in El Salvador continue to grow, I have decided that I am going to try and devote more posts on how to make the best of it. And maybe a few "how to" posts for those things which seem daunting when you first arrive here. (I feel a "how to cook on the hornilla" post in the near future) and of course recipes that make you almost feel like home. If there is something you would like to know more about let me know in comments and I will add it to my list.