Tempura Chicken Fingers, Plum Sauce, Stir-Fried Vegetables
- KICKED UP PLUM SAUCE:
- 2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1 cup very cold water
- 1 cup bleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon Essence recipe follows (see Bayou Blast recipe)
- Peanut oil for frying
- 1 cup plum preserves
- 4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pinch five-spice powder
- GINGER STIR-FRIED VEGETABLES:
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons ginger minced
- 1/2 cup sliced carrots 1/4"-thk on the bias
- 1 1/2 cups snow pea pods stringed
- 1/2 cup thinly-sliced fresh porcini mushroom caps (discard stems or reserve for other use)
- 1/2 cup thinly-sliced fresh shiitake mushroom caps (discard stems or reserve for other use)
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions 1/4"-thk on the bias
Lightly coat the chicken strips in the cornstarch, shaking to remove any excess. Set aside. In a large pot or wok, preheat the oil to 360 degrees.
In a bowl, beat the egg with the cold water. Add the flour and Essence and mix lightly and quickly just until smooth. Dip the chicken into the batter, shaking to remove any excess. In batches add to the hot oil and fry, turning, until golden brown on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Serve the chicken with the Kicked Up Plum Sauce for dipping, and Gingered Stir-Fried Vegetables.
For the Kicked Up Plum Sauce: In a saucepan, combine plum preserves, vinegar, shallots, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and 5-spice powder, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Stir, reduce the heat and simmer until thickened and the flavors are married, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the plum sauce from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Let cool to room temperature.
For the Gingered Stir-Fried Vegetables: In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar, and set aside.
In a large skillet or wok, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Add the ginger and cook, stirring, until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the carrots and stir-fry until beginning to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add snow pea pods and mushrooms and stir-fry until beginning to soften, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add the green onions and soy sauce mixture and stir to coat. Cook for another 45 seconds, stirring.
Remove from the heat and serve with the Tempura Chicken Fingers.
This recipe yields 4 servings.