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For my first real post, I decided to share a recipe that I use all the time. It’s incredibly simple, you almost always have most of the ingredients on hand, and it’s ready in about thirty minutes. It also really weirds people out, which is fun if you like answering questions like, “Wait… Ketchup?” This is another Mark Bittman recipe, but I cooked it from memory so I’ll explain how I made it (even though it will essentially be a rewrite of the original). I promise this blog won’t become “Henri & Mark,” I just happened to make a couple of his dishes this week. However, despite some of his recipes being overly simplistic, I like Bittman a lot and would recommend downloading his How To Cook Everything app if you’re just learning. He covers all the basics.

For this dish, I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs as opposed to breasts. I almost always substitute the two when I can, just because I prefer the juiciness and flavor of dark meat. Additionally, there’s evidence that dark meat is healthier (or so I heard on NPR one time). I also halve it from the orignal recipe and I usually still have leftovers for lunch the next day, unless I’m starving when I make it or just can’t stop eating.

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Ingredients:

3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 3/4 inch chunks

5 garlic cloves, slivered

1 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons canola oil

Chili powder, to taste (whoops, Bittman uses cayenne. You could use either, or sriracha)

Salt and Pepper

Process:

  1. First, peel and sliver your garlic cloves. Transfer to a plate, then cut your chicken into 3/4″ chunks. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the canola oil in your pan over medium to medium-high heat while you do your slivering and chunking.
  2. Put chicken in a bowl and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons flour, along with salt and pepper to taste. When the chicken is coated, transfer it to the hot oil by the handful, giving it a good shake to rid the chicken of excess flour. Cook chicken undisturbed until it browns on one side, about 5 minutes. After that, shake your pan and flip your chicken around until your chicken is done, 5-10 more minutes. You shouldn’t be able to see any pink and the chicken should feel springy to the touch. Transfer chicken to a paper towel lined plate using a slotted spoon or spatula.
  3. Freshen up the oil in your pan with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of canola oil. Add your garlic, then your chili powder or cayenne and sauté for 2 minutes. It will smell awesome. Add your ketchup and stir, cooking until the ketchup darkens and combining it with the spiced oil. Add your chicken back to the pan and toss it around, and you’ve got a dish better than 99% of Chinese takeout.

A note on rice:

For a cup of uncooked rice, I’ll melt a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Then, pour in two cups of water and bring the covered pot to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat as low as you can and let your pot sit for 20-30 minutes. The ratio of water to rice is always 2/1.

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