Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Asian chicken bravo

Why the name? No reason, except that I didn't want to call them nuggets. And having spent 40 years conducting opera and ballet, I am used to the singers and dancers being greeted with “bravo” as they take their curtain calls. In this case what I had in the freezer was a package of 5 good-sized drumsticks. After thawing them, I put them into a brine with a Chinese overtone – Szechuan peppercorns. It isn't actually pepper, and it has a flavor that I find impossible to describe. So I won't try. Some sesame oil and chili/garlic paste in my egg wash continued the Asian theme. This was truly an experiment, as I was making up every aspect of this. I was pleased with the result.

Asian chicken bravo
5 chicken drumsticks
black bean/garlic paste
2 tsp sesame oil, divided
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbs chili/garlic paste
1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
breadcrumbs (as much as needed, but do not use flavored ones)
sesame seeds (as much as you wish)

Make a slit in the thick flesh on both sides of the drumsticks. Place them into a container and cover them with brine**. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours (or longer – I didn't have more time). Before proceeding, rinse and dry them. Remove the skin and then the meat from the bones and remove all cartilage and tendon-like material. Grind in the food processor to a very rough chop. Stir in about 1 Tbs black bean/garlic paste and 1 tsp sesame oil. Form the chicken into balls about 1 ½ times the size of a golf ball. (Best done with wet hands. Refrigerate the balls for a while if you have time. They will set up and be a little easier to handle.

Lace the egg with sesame oil and chili/garlic paste and fish sauce (if using). Mix 2 parts breadcrumbs with 1 part sesame seeds in a wide bowl or on a plate. Dredge the chicken balls in flour, coat with egg and then with the bread and sesame mix.

Preheat the broiler and place an oven rack in the second position from the top. Remember that with most ovens you must leave the door ajar so that the heating element does not cycle on and off. Spray a baking sheet with Pam and place the balls on it. Now you may flatten them with a spatula or with your hand. Spray the tops with Pam. Broil for 3 minutes and turn. Broil for 3 minutes more until cooked through. You'll need to sample one to see if they are done. Serve these immediately.

3 cups water
2 ½ Tbs sea salt
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
½ tsp poultry seasoning

Put this into a bowl and stir until the salt is dissolved. Pour it over the chicken. Brine the chicken for 2-3 hours (more wouldn't hurt).


Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

Bravo indeed! these sound succulent and delicious -

Aarthi said...

This is my favorite..YUMMY


Pam said...

The name says it all. They look pretty tasty. 40 years--you must have quite a repertoire list. I love the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, probably a little boring to you after opera!

Jenn said...

Nicely done, my friend! I bet they turned out really good.. nothing like those nuggets of so called chicken you get at a certain fast food restaurant!!

Mary said...

These sound delicious, Stephen. I love the way you've used the black bean paste. These must be wonderfully flavorful. Have a greatday. Blessings...Mary

Loveforfood said...


Shu Han said...

oh yum! haha and what a name for a dish! chicken bravi, brilliant!

Chris said...

That is an inspired preparation. Sounds like something Alton Brown would do. I know he likes using the food processor to grind meat.

I have a crappy food processor that doesn't do great but fortunately I have a meat grinder.

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