My love affair with chili paste with garlic continues, going on thirty years now, with no loss of affection.
It was my first -- first authentic Chinese condiment in the pantry, that is -- and it's still my favorite, the one that makes my heart sing (and, occasionally, burn), the one I can't live without.
My husband Ted, who is not the least bit jealous of this relationship, will tell you that I get twitchy when I pull the last jar off the pantry shelf. I'm happier with a little stash of three or four jars of my favorite Lan Chi brand with their bright-green-and-white labels in Chinese and English.
Nothing, not even chocolate or lemon or Fresca, excites my taste buds in quite the same way.
What is chili paste with garlic?
A mash of chile peppers, salt, soybean oil and garlic. It's super-hot.
How/where to store:
Unopened, in the cupboard; once the jar is opened, store in the refrigerator for up to one year.
More facts about chili paste with garlic, and ingredient photos, in The Perfect Pantry:
Chili paste with garlic (Recipe: rotini with spicy meat sauce)
Spicy Asian grilled chicken and pasta salad
Comfort food on so many levels, this dish contains not one, but two, Chinese hot sauces. And Italian pasta. And mayo! I know it sounds unconventional, but we couldn't stop eating it, and I think you'll have the same experience. Serves 4-6 as a main dish.
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tsp chili paste with garlic
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 scallions, cut into one-inch pieces + 1 tsp chopped scallions
1/4 cup water
1/2 lb pasta (I like rotini, cavatappi or cellentani)
Marinate the chicken: Combine the chicken breasts, chili paste, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 scallions, and water in a plastic bag. Seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Massage the chicken to make sure the marinade is distributed evenly. Refrigerate for 6 hours, or overnight.
Remove chicken from the marinade, and cook on the grill or under the broiler for approximately 4 minutes per side. This can be done up to three days in advance; keep the chicken refrigerated. When ready to finish the dish, chop the chicken into bite-size pieces, and set aside.
Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking action, and drain again. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and mix thoroughly. Add the pasta, chicken, and 1 tsp chopped scallions. Stir, and serve.
More chili paste recipes:
Spicy chicken balls, from The Perfect Pantry
Grilled chile-lime-ponzu chicken, from The Perfect Pantry
Spicy sweet chicken, from Blue Kitchen
Sichuan tofu with garlic sauce, from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
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