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Suān là zhēng jī (酸辣蒸鸡, free-range chicken steamed with pickled chili peppers) is a popular dish in Hunan and everyone makes it differently. Varying by the cook’s style, every bowl I’ve come across is easy to make yet so delicious. Zhou Shifu‘s version is especially easy, and the most simple in flavor as it only has chicken, pickled chillies, and salt.
- 800 grams free-range chicken (土鸡, tǔ jī), cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon salt (盐, yán)
- 10 pickled chillies (酸辣椒, suān làjiāo), finely chopped
You will need a pressure cooker outfitted to steam food.
- In a pressure cooker, bring water to boil. Rinse chicken pieces of bone bits. Place chicken in a heat-safe bowl and sprinkle with salt.
- Steam in pressure cooker for 20 minutes. If using a non-pressure cooker pot, steam over high heat for 40-50 minutes.
- When cooked thoroughly, top with chopped pickled chillies.
The original recipe included one teaspoon MSG (味精, wèijīng), but I personally do not agree with using MSG. I’m all for umami when naturally made.