Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Healthy ways to cook chicken in Southern China

Last weekend, I went to Trader Joe’s with a high hope to add some creativity to my lunch table for a friends’ gathering. I like Trader Joe’s because it has good variety of ancient Chinese food, such as egg fried rice and mini chicken wonton. Compared to other grocery stores which selling similar type of frozen food, Trader Joe’s excels at keeping the authentic flavor in traditional food recipes.

I looked around and suddenly “Kong Pao Chicken” caught my eye. “That’s my favorite! And chicken is packed with protein; it should be good for adults and kids!” I said to myself and grabbed one bag. It was super easy to make using microwave, but it took me about 8 minutes in total. So I recommended to heat it up in a pan if you don’t want to wait that long. However, it tastes so good. Everyone loved it!

Kong Pao chicken is one of the most well-know dishes in China.  There are many more healthy ways to cook chicken in China, just considering how big China is. Today I am going to take you for a food & culture tour in Southern China to learn about this topic. Our first stop is in Sichuan Province, then we’ll go to its neighborhood place – Chongqing Municipality. Last but not least, we’ll experience the food and culture in Guangdong Province.

1. Sichuan Province: Kong Pao Chicken, and Steamed Chicken with Chili Sauce

I’ve never been to Sichuan Province before. But I heard it is definitely a paradise for foodies! The region is renowned for its hot spicy cuisine, Panda Reserves, Jiuzhai Valley National Park and so on.

Health ways to cook chicken in southern china Sichuan Hot Pot
Sichuan Hot Pot
Jiuzhai Valley National Park

Besides food and natural beauty, Sichuan has its unique culture, which makes it a fun place for anyone to visit. Its culture consists of four important parts–Sichuan Opera, Shadow Puppet Play, Sichuan Teahouse, and Sichuan Embroidery.

Health ways to cook chicken in southern china Sichuan Opera Masks
Sichuan Opera Masks

(1) Kong Pao Chicken Recipe

  • Cut chicken breast into chicken cubes. Chop green onions.
  • Soak chicken cubes with one tablespoon of cooking wine, 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and one teaspoon of starch for 10 minutes.
  • Heat oil for 2 minutes then fry the chicken cubes until they turn white.
  • Pour dry red pepper, green onion and peppercorn (or one teaspoon peppercorn powder).
  • Add seasoning and continue to stir fry until the sauce gets thicker.
  • Turn off the heat and pour cooked peanuts on the top. Stir well and it’s ready to serve!
Health ways to cook chicken in southern china Kong Pao Chicken
Kong Pao Chicken

(2) Steamed Chicken with Chili Sauce Recipe

  • Put washed chicken into cold water in a pot, add ginger and cooking wine, boil over medium heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot and put it in iced water, then drain water, and add a sesame oil coating to the chicken.
  • Add vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and salt to make the sauce (the ration for vinegar, soy sauce and sugar is about 3:2:0.5).
  • Place chopped chicken on the plate, sprinkle chopped peanuts, chopped green onion and sesame, then pour the sauce and chili oil.
Health ways to cook chicken in southern china Steamed chicken with chili sauce
Steamed chicken with chili sauce

 2. Chongqing Municipality–Chicken Feet with Pickled Peppers

Chongqing is a well-known mountain city in Southwest China. The area has “Karst” landform structure, with many caves, hot springs, canyons and so on. Chongqing has many famous tourist attractions, such as the Qutang gorge, Wu Gorge, Monument for Liberation square, Xiangxi, Zhang Fei temple, Baidicheng, the Three Gorges Dam, the hometown of Qu Yuan, Fengdu ghost city, Furong cave and so on.
Health ways to cook chicken in southern china Chongqing City View
Chongqing City View
Chongqing’s delicacy is quite diverse. Besides the spicy taste you can find in Sichuan area, Chongqing people embraces various materials to create new cuisine. The famous Chongqing Nine Cubes Hot Pot is a must! The types of snacks are also quite diverse, such as spiced beef jerk, spicy crab, preserved egg, glutinous rice with lotus root, Mapo Tofu, Bang Bang chicken and so on.
Health ways to cook chicken in southern china Chongqing Nine Cubes Hot Pot
Chongqing Nine Cubes Hot Pot

Chicken Feet with Pickled Peppers Recipe

  • Place washed chicken feet into a pot, add cooking wine, pepper, aniseed, scallion and ginger, then cook for fifteen minutes.
  • Remove the chicken feet and soak in ice water for some time. Prepare white vinegar, sugar, millet pepper, garlic, and a bag of pickled peppers.
  • Add garlic, pickled peppers, vinegar, ginger, salt, sugar, millet pepper to a bowl with cold water. Put chicken feet in the bowl and store it in the refrigerator overnight before it’s done.
Health ways to cook chicken in Southern China Chicken Feet with Pickled Peppers
Chicken Feet with Pickled Peppers

3. Guangdong Province–Sliced Cold Chicken

Guangdong is located in Southern China. It is one of the most developed region in China. Most people know cities like Guangdong or Shenzhen. I’ve only been to Shenzhen once when I was in college. The best part of the trip was the visit to “Windows of the World” where you can see vivid replicas of the famous scenic sites around the world.  There is also a mountain called Xiqiao mountain located in the southwest of Guangdong Province. It is a quiet extinct volcano with 72 peaks and 42 holes. Kaiping Diaolou, the ancient building complex shown below, was assessed as one of the world’s cultural heritage by UNESCO.
Health ways to cook chicken in Southern China Kaiping Diaolou in Guangdong Province
Kaiping Diaolou in Guangdong Province

Cantonese cuisine is one of the eight cuisines in China. Cantonese people like to use snake to make tasty and nourishing food. They also love tea. “Canton Morning Tea” is a common social event. No matter it’s in the morning before work, or in the afternoon after work, friends or family members love to go to dim sum restaurants for a pot of tea, with a few snacks. Life in Guangdong Province is very relaxing and family-oriented.

Health ways to cook chicken in Southern China Guangdong Dim Sum-Crispy Durian Cake
Guangdong Dim Sum -Crispy Durian Cake

Sliced Cold Chicken Recipe

  • Clean the whole chicken. Prepare green onion and ginger slices
  • Put chicken into a pot, add green onion, ginger and cooking wine
  • Add cold water to cover the chicken and then turn on the heat
  • After the water boils, continue to cook for 16 minutes, then turn off the heat and simmer for 5 minutes
  • Prepare the sauce: add chopped coriander, ginger, red onion based on the ratio of 1:1:1, sesame oil, sugar and salad sauce. Mix thoroughly. If you want spicy flavor, add some spicy oil.
  • Remove the chicken and quickly cool it in ice water
  • Sprinkle the surface with some sesame oil.  Cut the chicken and serve with sauce.
Health ways to cook chicken in Southern China Sliced cold chicken
Sliced cold chicken

Thanks for your time! I hope you enjoy this “tour” and learned some healthy ways to cook chicken. If you are interested in other healthy chicken recipes, please check out Chinese chicken salad and Moo Goo Gai Pan. Looking forward to the next tour! See yah:)