Friday, March 20, 2015

Char Siu Chicken Breast Sandwich

     Flavor Is The Word!    
     During the warm spring and summer seasons, lighter fare is popular.  Chicken sandwiches are good selling summer season food.  It seems like fried chicken sandwiches sandwiches are the only option at many low price casual restaurants.  Why sell the same old fried chicken sandwich when there are thousands of other options!
     I used to sell Hunan BBQ Chicken Sandwiches as a lunch special du jour at a French café many years ago.  Hunan BBQ Sauce is about the same thing as Char Siu Sauce.  Hunan BBQ Sauce almost always is a red color.  Char Siu Sauce can be a natural color or it can be tinted red.  
     Sweet potato, soy beans, garlic and seasonings are used to make Hoisin Sauce.  Hoisin Sauce is a pre-made Chinese cooking sauce that can be purchased in cans or jars.  The flavor is rich, so a little bit of Hoisin Sauce goes a long way.  The flavor of hoisin is sweet and rich.
     Honey naturally goes well with hoisin sauce.  Char Siu Sauce can be sweetened with honey instead of sugar to increase the healthy appeal.  If the proportion of honey is high, then the sauce will be more like a Chinese Honey Glaze for duck of pork.

     Char Siu Sauce:
     This recipe yields enough sauce to glaze 2 to 3 chicken breasts.
     There are a few different styles of Char Siu Sauce.  This version that is sweetened with honey.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 1/2 cup of water.
     Add 1/4 cup of rice wine.
     Add 1/4 cup of hoisin sauce.
     Add 2 tablespoons of honey.
     Add 1 tablespoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of pure sesame oil.
     Add 1 pinch of Chinese red chile powder.
     Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1 pinch of garlic powder.
     Add 1 pinch of coriander.
     Add 2 pinches of Chinese 5 spice powder.
     Step 2:  Gently simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a thin BBQ glaze sauce consistency.
     Remove the pot from the heat.
     Keep the Char Siu Sauce warm on a stove top.
     Chicken Breast Preparation:  
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 tablespoon of thin soy sauce in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Trim the fat and skin off of a 6 to 8 ounce chicken breast filet.
     Butterfly cut the chicken breast and split the chicken breast into 2 separate thin filets.
     Step 2:  Place the chicken breast halves in the marinade in the mixing bowl.
     Coat the chicken with the marinade.
     Marinate the chicken in a refrigerator for 10 minutes in a refrigerator.
     Char Siu Chicken Breast:
     Whole Char Siu Chicken or Char Siu Duck is usually slow roasted on a spit that is slowly turned high above embers or a low flame.  For this Char Siu Chicken Sandwich, a home kitchen oven roasting method is used.
     Step 1:  Remove the chicken breast filet halves from the marinade.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Sear the marinated chicken filets, till a few light brown highlights appear on both sides and the chicken is about halfway cooked.
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Drain any excess oil out of the pan.
     Brush the chicken with the Char Siu Sauce.
     Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Flip the chicken filets occasionally.  Brush the chicken with Char Siu Sauce occasionally, so the chicken is thoroughly glazed.
     Roast the chicken filets till they are fully cooked.
     Char Siu Chicken Breast Sandwich:
     Brush a split hamburger roll with vegetable oil.  (Butter is not used much in Chinese cooking.  Vegetable oil is a better flavor for this recipe.)
     Grill the hamburger roll halves on a sauté pan or griddle over medium/medium low heat, till they become toasted.
     Set the hamburger roll on a plate.
     Place these items on the bottom half of the hamburger roll:
     - baby mixed lettuce leaves
     - sliced tomato
     - sliced onion
     Place the char siu chicken filets on the sandwich.
     Lean the top half of the hamburger roll against the sandwich.
     Garnish the plate with parsley sprigs and pickles.  (Persian Pink Pickled Turnips garnish the plate in the pictures.)

    A Char Siu Chicken Sandwich is a nice lunch munch! 

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