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Friday, May 4, 2012

Clementine Chicken & Broccoli

Clementine Chicken & Broccoli

you may not know this, but english is not my first language. i grew up in a household where i was expected to speak vietnamese at all times. as a child this was easy, as it was all i knew. when i started going to school i learned english. my first year in pre-school i was mute, i was equal parts too shy to speak and uncomprehending of anything anyway. the following year, in another school, one that i could walk to, was a different story. all of a sudden i could talk up a storm in fast english ~ i was going to make up for lost time!

i don't know how it is done now, but when i was in school, roll call was everyday. it was exciting for me, to hear my name called out, it made me feel visible - important. one day i happened to hear a teacher say that when your name is called out, to say "present!" in reality, what i thought i heard was "PRESIDENT!" i was determined to incorporate such a saying when my name was called.

i'm not sure how long i did this for, but every single time my name was called out, i would raise my hand very high and say loudly, "PRESIDENT!" oh the humanity, i felt so incredibly grown up saying it! i'm sure mrs. rooney, who incidentally i am still in touch with and i have plans to have lunch with her this weekend! (squeel!), would pause perplexed but continue on. in my 5 year old mind i was probably thinking that she was making note of how flipping awesome i was! by chance a classmate corrected me and being my stubborn self i didn't believe him, but the seeds of doubt were planted and i stopped saying it. the novelty of having my name called out wore off, especially when substitute teachers would mispronounce my name and eventually, roll call became a dreaded event.

i think back to those days, when i was a little shy asian girl, talkative to the point of distraction, eager to be seen & heard most of the time, and cringing in dread when my foreign name was butchered. these days i'm not afraid to correct someone, i speak more english than i do vietnamese. how i've come so far!

this dish is a slight butchering of a chinese take out classic. i bought a bag of clementines recently but it's past its season, the fruit is too tart for my liking. so i used them in this dish. the result is tangy, but fresh, still distinctly chinese with an american touch.

Clementine Chicken & Broccoli

Clementine Chicken & Broccoli
use the link for exact measurements. i used it as a guideline but i ended up eyeballing everything.

1 lb organic chicken breast, skinless, cut in bite-size pieces
AP flour
cayenne pepper
ground ginger
veg oil

juice of one lime
rice vinegar
soy sauce
juice of 4 clementines
brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
knob of galangal, cut into cubes

mix the sauce ingredients except for the cornstarch & add to a small sauce pan. heat gently. i cut the galangal big because i wanted to just get the essence but not necessarily bite into them. same with the garlic.

meanwhile, add the dry ingredients in mixing bowl. heat up some oil in a pan. dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, shake off excess and fry up. i did not deep fry. brown all sides, do in batches if necessary. as the chicken reaches cooked, in a small bowl add the cornstarch with cold water and add to the saucepan. the sauce will thicken. at that point, add it the chicken pan. coat thru. if you want, reduce the sauce a bit.

serve with steamed broccoli & white rice.

Clementine Chicken & Broccoli

around 1 year ago: Kentucky Horse Racing Pie
around 2 years ago: Roasted Garlic Hummus
around 3 years ago: Ma Po Tofu
4 years ago today: Sock Animals!


  1. I have a number of friends who came to Canada as children and as ADULTS, knowing absolutely no english. It amazes me. Like, completely boggles my mind. As a kid, I always wondered how they would ever find the bathrooms in public places. And what if they went into the wrong one? It was a huge concern.

    Those photos are incredible. And I want to dive into that chicken. My mother would be so glad that the broccoli is president. I mean present. Because it's so good for you!

    1. your bathroom concern is legit... one of the first things i taught dw in vietnamese is "take a shit..." when we went to vietnam a few months ago, IF we had gotten separated for whatever reason and he had to go, he would've been able to find a can. i always have his back and that's proof.

      ha! thank you!

  2. I know exactly how hearing a different language being used by everyone feels. I stayed in the Mid East for a year or so. True, they talk to me in English but it is not the same since I more often hear them talk in Arabic. It is completely different when you are already an adult in a foreign country. I would say a little one's tongue is more flexible and there is less inhibitions when you are young. Anyhow, I survived, but I am smiling as I imagine you saying President with your hands raised. =)
    This is a great recipe. This is what blending in is all about. Thanks for sharing.

    1. it is a wonder to me how some people are able to embrace a new language. i have a preference for learning the bad words, personally.