Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Paper-Wrapped Chicken

When I was in my first year of college I worked as a receptionist/secretary/errand girl at the same company that my dad worked. It was a small enough company that you knew everyone who worked there and everyone knew you. Working in the same company as my dad meant that I got to see him in his highest state of stress and was occasionally caught in the line of fire. However, one of the benefits of working with my dad was lunch time. He frequently took me out to lunch and I could pick where we went. One of my favorite places to go was a Chinese restaurant in a strip mall called Sampan. Not only did they have the best tasting Chinese food (my favorite was mongolian beef), but they gave you a lot for your money. With every lunch special you got soup and your choice of either an egg roll or paper-wrapped chicken. Paper-wrapped chicken are little chunks of chicken wrapped in rice or cellophane paper and deep fried. However, at Sampan, they are wrapped in little triangles of aluminum foil and baked. They were delicious and I got them every time I went.

When I originally came across this recipe, I thought it was going to be a method for cooking chicken over a campfire. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was for my precious paper-wrapped chicken!! Funny, how the author of the blog posted the recipe as a memory of her father and I also associate them with my dad. While this recipe was not identical to those at Sampan, they were still very, very good.

Paper/Foil Wrapped Chicken
(from the Food Gal)

3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp ginger paste or fresh ginger pressed through a garlic press
5 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
pinch of sugar

dash of sesame oil
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" cubes

Preheat oven to 350degrees. Combine all ingredients into a bowl. The original recipe says to marinate for 2-3 hours, but I just let it sit for about 30 minutes and it was fine. While the chicken is marinating prepare the tin foil squares. 6"x6" squares work fairly well, so if your tin foil box is 12" long, then pull out 6" of foil and tear. Then just fold in half and tear so that you are left with 2 equal squares. I personally just eye-balled it (and didn't do a very good job oat it), but the more even they are the better your squares will look. Fold each square along its diagonal to create a diagonal crease. This will help you later when you are wrapping the chicken.

Open each foil square and put a heaping teaspoon of the chicken into the center. Fold up the square along the crease so that you have a triangle. Fold the open edges of the triangle 2-3 time to create a tight seal. Place all foil triangles onto a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.

At the restaurant, part of the fun was having your own set of triangles and opening them yourself. Serve with a big bowl of rice, the plate of triangles, and your veggie of choice (mmmm...asparagus).

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