Peking Chicken

The person who introduced me to homemade Chinese food was the Frugal Gourmet. He was a crazy hippie/ordained minister who had a cooking show on PBS in the late 80s/early 90s when I was a newlywed. My husband and I used to watch him together and found him to be entertaining (“Hot pan, cold oil, food won’t stick,” I can still hear him saying). It was around this time that I took some books out of the library about Asian food and began experimenting. My recipe for Peking Chicken was born.

This recipe is a family favorite. Mr. MarthaAndMe has been known to request it for his birthday dinner. It’s one of those dishes where everyone is literally licking the plate at the end of the meal. When my kids were younger I used to make some pancakes without scallion and they would gobble them up with chicken and sauce on them. Now I make them all with scallions. One word of warning. Make sure you can open your windows when you make this! It always smokes up my kitchen. Open your window before you start cooking this to get some ventilation going.

I adore this recipe. The chicken gets a magnificent color and has crunchy skin. The sauce is rich, dark, and thick. The pancakes are soft and absorb the sauce wonderfully. You taste the bite of ginger and garlic, the sweet darkness of the hoisin, the moist chicken, and the soul soothing pancakes.  It’s a perfect dish.

Peking Chicken

1 whole chicken

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp minced peeled ginger

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp seasoned rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place chicken in sink and pour 1 quart boiling water over it, flipping chicken halfway through.

Place on rack and roast in oven for 50 minutes.

Mix honey, tamari, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar. Once the chicken has roasted for 50 minutes, brush with half the honey mixture and return to oven for 5 minutes. Brush again with the rest of the mix and return to oven for another 5 minutes.

Allow chicken to rest while you make the sauce. Add the chicken broth and hoisin to the chicken pan, first removing any blackened pieces, leaving all the brown pieces.  Bring to boiling, whisking, and scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Serve sauce separately.

Scallion Pancakes

2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups water

2 large whole green onions, finely sliced.

Mix ingredients together. Heat a skillet or large pan and add 1 tbsp oil (vegetable or olive are fine).  Use the batter to create pancakes, about 4 inches diameter each. Flip when the bottom is slightly brown. Repeat until all are made. Pancakes can be kept in a warm oven until they are all made.

To eat, put a pancake on your plate and top with a slice of chicken. Pour sauce over it and enjoy with a knife and fork.

This is also wickedly good cold! Note that I’ve tried to make this with half whole wheat flour and it just wasn’t the same – the pancakes were too chewy somehow.

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20 Responses to Peking Chicken

  1. Alene says:

    It’s going into my file. Sounds delish!!!

  2. Frugal Kiwi says:

    Love Jeff the Frugal Gourmet and love anything Peking, chicken, duck, whatever!

  3. marthaandme says:

    I googled him to find a link for this and there are lots of articles about how he was disgraced for having relations with underage boys who worked for him and he was forced to go off the air. I knew nothing about this at the time it happened.

  4. OMG, thank you! You just gave me a new recipe to try next week!

  5. marthaandme says:

    Hope you like it!

  6. Sheryl says:

    This, I definitely have to try. It sounds too good – and really easy, too – to ignore. Thanks!

  7. Thanks for sharing this–yum. I don’t think I’ve ever had Peking Duck, but peking chicken sounds even better.

  8. Can’t believe how simple this sounds — and how delicious. Silly me, I thought you had to go to a restaurant to get a dish like this.

  9. This is one of our favorite restaurant foods; so glad to see this great recipe so we can recreate it at home!

  10. Kerry Dexter says:

    lovely when you create a recipe on your own that turns out to be a perfect dish and a family favourite

  11. Jesaka Long says:

    I’ve never even thought of making this at home. Thanks so much for the recipe and helpful tips.

  12. Frugal Kiwi says:

    YIKES! Had no idea about the Frugal Gourmet scandal. I won’t be mentioning that to my mother. She’s always been a huge fan and it would put her right off.

  13. marthaandme says:

    I was shocked. It must have been big news, but I guess without much internet activity, that kind of news didn’t get out so much.

  14. I recently read “Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China” by Fuchsia Dunlop. It really got into into making Chinese food at home. I highly recommend it:

  15. marthaandme says:

    Thanks! I’ll check it out.

  16. GREAT recipe. I remember the Frugal Gourmet with fondness, too.

  17. I have a whole chicken in the freezer that initially was bound for the stockpot – but I think this needs to be made instead. Thank you for sharing your family recipe!

  18. I’m not a huge fan of hoisin sauce or of honey. Would have to modify this recipe somewhat to try it. @Wasabimon Shark’s Fin sounds like an interesting book!

  19. Susan says:

    Oooo – Mr. Muse loves Chinese food with chicken, so this might be a good recipe to try for him.

  20. I remember the Frugal Gourmet! I had one of his books at one time. This looks really good. Another one I’ll have to try!

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