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WF2 Recipe: Chicken Nanking
Confession #1: In the midst of purging our stuff and preparing for the movers and dealing with the disruption caused by a string of people tromping through our house (prospective buyers, inspector [and, sadly, not this kind], foundation guy, plumber), I have zero desire or time to be creative in the kitchen. We are literally eating grilled chicken and raw vegetables at most meals for the near future.
On the up side: We sold our house!
On the double up side: To make up for being somewhat absent from my blog, I’m sharing my recipe for Chicken Nanking. It requires more prep than grilled chicken and raw vegetables, but it’s also far more satisfying. Enjoy!
Confession #2: One time, back in the day, when Dave and I were on a date at the restaurant that inspired this recipe, we ate Chicken Nanking for dinner — and ordered more to go so we could eat it for breakfast the next day. It’s that good.
Chicken Nanking from Well Fed 2
Serves 2-4 | Prep 20 minutes | Marinate 30 minutes | Cook 30 minutes | Whole30 Compliant
My first official date with my husband Dave was at the House of Nanking in San Francisco’s Chinatown, in 1992. It’s a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, the windows smeared with steam and decades of grease. When the door opens, aromas drift out to tease hungry crowds waiting to get inside to sample the namesake dish. Dave told me it was a litmus test: If I liked the chicken, there’d be a second date. We’ve been eating together ever since.
This is two dishes in one. With the sauce, it’s tangy, sweet, and well… saucy. Without, it’s flavorful and clean. Either way, prep all the components in advance, then fry it up just before eating.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup coconut aminos or this soy sauce substitute
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon arrowroot
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated (about 1 tablespoon)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 pound green beans
1 large sweet potato (about 10-12 ounces)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup coconut aminos
1 tablespoon Kickass Ketchup (or other paleo/Whole30 compliant ketchup)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 dried date (or dried fig), pit removed
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash cayenne pepper
Prep the chicken. In a medium bowl, mix the coconut aminos, sesame oil, arrowroot, ginger, and garlic. Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces and add to the bowl. Mix well, then cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
Prep the veggies. Peel the sweet potato and cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside. Wash and trim the green beans, then cut in half cross-wise. Set aside.
Prep the sauce. Place all the sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. When you’re ready to start stir-frying the chicken and veggies, pour the sauce into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer so the sauce thickens.
Cook the veg. In a large, non-stick skillet or wok, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil, then add the sweet potatoes. Cover and steam until tender, 4-5 minutes. Remove the sweet potatoes to a large bowl. Add another 1/2 cup water to the pan, bring to a boil, then add the green beans. Cover and steam until tender, 4-5 minutes. Remove the beans from the pan and add to the bowl with the sweet potatoes.
Cook the chicken. In the same skillet, dry out any remaining water and heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade (and discard remaining marinade). Working in batches, if necessary, add the chicken in a single layer and cook until well browned, about 4-5 minutes per side. Try not to crowd the pan or the chicken won’t attain the crispy, brown exterior that makes this dish feel decadent. As the chicken browns, add it to the bowl with the vegetables.
If using the sauce: Return the chicken and veggies to the sauté pan, add the sauce, and stir-fry until coated with sauce and heated through. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and scallions.
If not using the sauce: Return the chicken and veggies to the sauté pan and season with a few dashes of coconut aminos. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and scallions. Tastes great with oven-roasted cauliflower rice.