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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mu Shu Chicken Patties with Seared Napa Cabbage

I have been eyeing this recipe for about a year. I put it into my personal cookbook with the intention to cook it nearly every time I open up the document. For whatever reason, this recipe or that trumps it and it goes back to the pile, lonely and untouched. There are no unique ingredients (unless you can't read, which I'll get to later) and nothing about the method of cooking that would make it get continually ignored. But it finally had its day in the Kinayman kitchen.

Mu Shu Chicken Patties with Seared Napa Cabbage

2 pounds ground chicken
4 scallions, finely chopped
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
and grated or finely chopped (or 1 tbsp Ginger People grated ginger)
3 tbsp tamari sauce
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp grill seasoning, such as McCormick Grill Mates
Montreal Steak Seasoning
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small Napa cabbage, shredded
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Hoisen sauce, to pass around the table

1. In a medium bowl, mix the chicken with the scallions, ginger, tamari, garlic and grill seasoning. Form into small patties. (I ended up with 13.) In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high to high heat until smoking. Add the patties and cook until well done, about 5 minutes on each side; transfer to a plate.

2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and heat to smoking, then add the cabbage and stir-fry until wilted. Season with salt and add the sesame seeds. Pile the cabbage on plates and serve with 2 chicken patties per person. Pass the hoisen sauce around the table.

The Verdict: Very good, but because I waited too long to finally make this, I'd built it up in my head to be amazing. It wasn't amazing, but everyone enjoyed it.

Things to remember about this recipe: First, tamari sauce is a fancy name for soy sauce. I read it quickly and thought it said "tahini." So I'm tooling around Whole Foods, unable to find tahini, knowing full-well that of all the places to shop, they're going to have it. And that when I did find it, I was going to cry because it costs $8 a can when I only needed 3 tablespoons. Finally, I stopped looking for it and decided I'd just use almond butter. And imagine my surprise when I realized these weren't Middle Eastern Mu Shu Patties. Duh.

Secondly, when there's smoke, there's not necessarily fire but your smoke alarms don't know this. My oven vent sucks, so in my concentration I didn't realize the thick blanket of cooking smoke I'd produced. Half-way through cooking dinner, I was opening every window in our house, doing the newspaper sweeping dance. Do yourself a favor and turn your vent on right away and open a window. Or take "medium-high to high heat" with a grain of salt.

Overall, it was enjoyed and I'll be making it again.

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