chicken kung pao zoodles

This recipe makes enough for two people with leftovers. It’s got a tangy bite to it but I would ramp up the flavor with some Sriracha (pronounced SEE-rah-chah in Thai).
2 medium unpeeled zucchini, about 8 oz each, ends trimmed
1 teaspoon rice bran oil (substitute: canola or grapeseed oil)
6 oz skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and white pepper, to taste
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons crushed dry roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions along diagonal
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce (Substitute: reduced salt soy sauce or tamari)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2-3 teaspoons hoisin sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons water
1/2-1 tablespoon red chili paste with garlic (Substitute: Sambal Oelek) more or less to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch (optional;  if a thickened sauce is desired)
1-2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce (optional) or to taste

Shred the zucchini. The yield will be about 6-8 cups.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, hoisin sauce, water, red chili paste, sugar and cornstarch, if using; set aside.

Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat oil in a large, deep nonstick pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until just cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

Reduce heat to medium, add sesame oil, garlic and ginger to the skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the bell pepper, stir in soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened and bubbling, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in zucchini noodles and cook, mixing for about one minute until just tender and mixed with the sauce. The zucchini will spring water which helps create a sauce. Once cooked, mix in chicken and divide between 2 bowls (about 2 cups each) and top with 1 tablespoon each peanuts and scallions.

soy-glazed five-spice chicken legs and cilantro with sesame-soy sauce dressing


This recipe is a family favorite. I’ve reduced the calories by removing the skin from the chicken drumsticks. I really don’t miss the skin at all because I hate chicken skin unless it is absolutely crisp. The meat is tender, sweet, salty, with just a hint of anise.

Soy-Glazed Five Spice Chicken Legs
Prep time: 5 minutes plus overnight
Cook time: 28 minutes

6 chicken legs with the skin on
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon rice bran oil
1 teaspoon onion or garlic powder
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice powder
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Cilantro with Sesame-Soy Sauce Dressing
1 bunch cilantro, washed and patted dry
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Prepare the chicken legs. Grasp each end of the leg with a paper towel and pull the skin down over the tip of the bony end of the drumstick. Zip! Discard the skin. Repeat with the other drumsticks.

Place the prepared drumsticks in a dish with a cover or a glass food storage box with a clip on cover. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients until it emulsifies. Pour over the chicken and cover. Move the chicken back and forth to coat. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, shift the chicken back and forth again in the box. When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the marinade and reserve the marinade.

Heat a skillet with a little oil or cooking spray. Brown the chicken about 2 minutes per side. Pour on the reserved marinade and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes or until done.

Make the cilantro side. Whisk the sesame oil and soy sauce until it emulsifies. Drizzle all over the cilantro and gently toss. Serve chilled.