Chicken with Lichees
One small chicken breast serves 2.
You may see this fruit spelled "lychee" or "lichee". It's all the same. The fruit is grown in the southern part of China (Guangdong and Fujian Provinces), but it's readily available in the canned fruit section of your grocery store with the outer shell and inner nut removed. You may be able to find the fresh version available in the summer and early fall in some Asian grocery stores. Look for a fruit with a knobby, reddish-brown shell about the size of a walnut.
In this recipe, the sweetness of the lichees is balanced against the full-flavored "aromatics". The combination is fetching. For cooking, it's best to use a wok to stir fry the chicken and lichees. But if you don't have a wok, a frying pan that will take high heat will do.
1 boned small chicken breast (both halves)
2 TBS flour
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
12 canned lichees (peeled and seeded, if using fresh ones)
1 TBS fresh lemongrass, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 small shallot, peeled
1 TBS grated fresh ginger
3 TBS soy sauce
1. Chicken and Lichees
Cut the chicken breast into very thin slivers (about the diameter of a pencil or smaller) using a sharp knife.
Coat the chicken with flour and white pepper. (Do this step just before you are ready to stir fry.)
Cut the lichee nuts into quarters.
Finely chop the lemongrass, garlic and shallots in a food processor.
Add the grated ginger and soy sauce and mix in lightly.
Set aside in a bowl until ready to use.
3. Stir Frying
Heat about 2 TBS peanut oil until nearly smoking.
Add the chicken (coated with flour) and stir fry until the chicken loses its pinkness.
Add the lichees and then add the aromatics. Continue to stir fry until the flour on the chicken has blended with the aromatics to form a light, translucent glaze over the chicken.
Serve immediately with steamed rice.
Soy Sauce: I like "Yamasa" brand soy sauce because it's light, yet flavorful, and not overly salty.
Coating the Chicken: To easily coat the chicken slivers, I put the flour and white pepper into a clean plastic grocery bag, drop the slivers into the bag and shake it gently until all the pieces are evenly coated. The same technique is useful for coating any meat for stew.