Focus in on the delights of the kitchen and the table with ...


My second Wok Wednesdays endeavor produced a generous, satisfying dish: hearty, gorgeous, and perfect as a party dish or a one-dish family meal. In contrast to our first recipe, Stir-Fried Garlic Spinach, with its hallmarks of simplicity and focus, this dish, Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken plunged us into the world of contrasts and organization, with multiple ingredients and advance preparation on the menu.

I chopped up the chicken and tossed it with the cornstarch mixture, and set it in the fridge while I took care of business with the peppers, zucchini, ginger, and garlic, and measured out all the ingredients.

Then I put the rice on to cook and took a break for daily life (e-mail! dog-tending! homework-advising! laundry-folding! staring out the window…). Once rice was ready, the table was set, and the family was handy, and my was on the stove, it was showtime!

I love the process of stir-fry cooking, where everything is, well, in your face. I am watching and working, making things happen (swirling the oil, tossing the garlic and ginger, spreading the chicken pieces out over the hot pan, tumbling in the peppers) and also leaving things alone, to sizzle, sear, soften, and scent the kitchen with promising aromas. It’s fast and noisy and things change, from color of the raw chicken to texture of onions and peppers. In this dish, I loved how the chicken took on color once the spices were introduced, and the way the main ingredients stayed substantial while releasing that marvelously tasty rust-colored sauce. Big Red Kitchen has a smart, cool and pretty idea for stir-fry prep: organizing your mis en place in jars.

I took it easy on the chili heat, since the levels of appreciation for fiery food varies at my house, but this is a dish which could shine with the chili-dial turned up. I love the insight on how Chinese culinary traditions were interwoven with local Burmese and South Asian ingredients with this family kitchen.

For Grace Young’s recipe for Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken , visit this week’s host, “My Culinary Mission”, by clicking HERE.

 Here are posts on Chinese Burmese Chili Chicken from some of my fellow Wok Wednesday cooks:

 Check out Wok Wednesdays’ Facebook page by clicking HERE. Lots of great links on the subject, including The Kitchn ‘s recent feature on our hero, Grace Young . You can post your Wok Wednesdays recipe photos and comments there, even if you don’t have a blog. To join us, visit Wok Wednesdays, where Green Eats Blog -star Matt Lardie does the heavy lifting to make Wok Wednesdays work wonderfully well. Here’s Grace Young’s inspiring book, which you will love to have in your kitchen and by your reading chair. Order it  HERE!
About the Author
Nancie McDermott is a food writer and cooking teacher, and the author of ten cookbooks. Her passion is researching and celebrating traditional food in its cultural context, and her beloved subjects are two seemingly different places with much in common: the cuisines of Asia and of the American South. Nancie gained her Southern kitchen wisdom as a Piedmont North Carolina native,and her Asian culinary research commenced soon after college, when she was sent to northeastern Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer.
  1. Robin Sue Reply

    Hi Nancie
    I agree- Grace is our hero! What a wonderful book and I am excited to cook more of her recipes with the WW crew. I have already learned so much and find I may have to get one of those Wok burners like Rob’s (countrysidefoodrides) since I don’t think my cooktop gets hot enough! Thanks for the mention. Have a great weekend. See you at the next recipe!
    Robin Sue

    • Nancie McDermott Reply

      My pleasure. Finding your blog is another benefit of this tasty wok adventure. See you next dish!

  2. Grace Young Reply

    Nancie, I’m so very honored that you—the ultimate Stir-Fry Guru are a part of Wok Wednesdays. Thanks for the great post and for compiling all the different blog posts. I can’t believe you could take time to do Wok Wednesdays on a week when your extraordinary essay “Lunch Counter Sit-Ins” was nominated for the prestigious AFJ award. You should be blogging about THAT rather than stir-fries!

    • Nancie McDermott Reply

      Grace you are just the funniest and the best. Many thanks. I love the community AND the chicken dinner. It’s all good.

  3. sippitysup (@sippitysup) Reply

    You keep this up and I am going to have to rooch around in my cupboards for that wok I know I have but can’t quite remember where I put it! GREG

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