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Crispy Chili Chicken, Spam Fried Rice, and Soy Ginger Potatoes

This sounds like a lot of food, I know, but my oldest just got home from college for the summer, and he’s making up for lost time. This chicken recipe is based on one from Milk Street. The crispy fried chicken pieces are topped with Sichuan chili oil, salty sugary Sichuan peppercorn topping, and fresh herbs and it is so delicious.

This is my standard fried rice recipe I use all the time, and I just swap out the protein depending on what I have or what we are in the mood for. I sometimes make it with beef, or with chinese bbq pork, or you could just go veggie with it. This time I am using spam, which I know might earn me some questioning looks, but I promise you if you cook and serve spam in the right way, it is a treat.

This potato recipe is adapted from the coconut and sambal cookbook and I think it is my favorite roasted potato recipe. The potatoes are nice and crispy, and the flash fried scallions, ginger and garlic along with soy and vinegar that gets poured over at the last minute push this recipe way beyond any standard roasted potato. They are a great compliment to any meal with Asian flavors.

Specialized ingredients for the chicken (all available on Amazon):

Crispy chili chicken:

In a large bowl, stir together soy sauce, vinegar, egg white and 2 tbsp of the sugar. Add the chicken pieces and marinate for 15-30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, combine 2 tbsp remaining sugar, cornstarch, 3 tbsp Sichuan peppercorn powder, 2 tsp salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tbsp peppercorn powder, 2 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp salt to make the topping.

Drain the chicken in a colander and heat your oil to 375 in a heavy duty pot. Set a wire rack over a cookie sheet to drain your fried chicken on. Working in small batches, dip chicken pieces into the cornstarch mixture and add to the hot oil. Don’t do too many at once, or you will drop the oil temp too much, resulting in greasy and less crispy chicken. You will need to fry a few separate batches. Cook the chicken for about 5-6 minutes until nicely browned and crisp and cooked though. You can check a few pieces with an instant read thermometer or cut one open to be sure its cooked through.

Drain onto the rack, reheat the oil to 375 and continue frying until done. When all finished, heat the 6 tbsp chili oil slightly in the microwave and drizzle over right before serving. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of the topping mixture over and toss. Then top with the chopped scallions and cilantro and serve with extra chili oil and topping on the side.

Chili oil:

Heat all ingredients to 275 in a pot on the stove. Let cool to room temp and strain out all the solids. Store in a jar in the fridge.

Spam Fried Rice:

  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1 can spam
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • 2 large carrot chopped into small pieces
  • 3 eggs, scrambled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • few tsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp oil (plus extra if needed)
  • salt and sesame oil to taste

Cook the rice and allow it to cool to room temp before using, or you can use leftover rice. Cut the spam up into small cubes and fry over medium heat until lightly browned. This is key! Spam straight from the can is gross, but once you fry it up it is delicious. Chop the garlic, onion and carrot. Scramble the eggs and chop and set aside.

Heat the oil until very hot in a big frying pan or wok. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic and cook until softened. Add the rice and stir around to get it coated in some oil and let it sit for a while so some parts of the rice get crispy. Add in the spam, eggs, peas, and a few tsp of soy sauce. Stir and season with salt and a little sesame oil and keep frying until everything is hot. You can also add some MSG for seasoning if you like. We usually eat our fried rice with sriracha or sambal olek.

Soy ginger potatoes:

Preheat oven to 425. Line a large sheet pan with foil and spread the oil on it. Place in the oven to heat up while you boil the potatoes. Place the chunks into cold water to cover and add 1 tbsp of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and put back into the hot pan to steam for 2 minutes while you toss them around to get some rough edges which help them crisp up more.

Spread them on the hot sheet pan in a single layer and toss to coat in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes, flipping half way through. During the last few minutes of cooking, prepare the topping by heating 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan over high heat and add the scallions, garlic and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Toss with the roasted potatoes and top with the soy sauce/vinegar. Serve while hot.

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