Chicken Livers and Green Peppers

Jigan Chao Qingjiaoding

The Chinese consider the liver the most precious part of the bird; chicken livers were such a delicacy in Szechwan that Mrs. Chiang’s mother cooked them only for important guests, such as her parents-in-law. Even in Taiwan, chicken livers were expensive. The traditional Szechwanese way of preparing chicken livers is delicious, and, since chicken livers are inexpensive here, Americans can enjoy it often.

This dish can be made either with or without hot peppers. Although it is easy to prepare, you must take care not to overcook the chicken livers. Tender they are a delight; tough, a disaster.

Method

Preparation

1 pound chicken livers Rinse off the livers. Separate each pair and cut off all the white membranes and segments of fat, then cut each piece of liver in half and put them all in a bowl.
½-inch piece fresh ginger Peel the ginger, then cut it into shreds ⅛ inch wide, about the width of a wooden matchstick. Add the ginger to the chicken livers.

1 scallion

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or cooking sherry

Clean the scallion then cut it, both white part and green, into 1-inch lengths. Add to the livers, along with the salt, sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, sesame oil, and wine. Mix thoroughly and set aside to marinate.
4 long hot green peppers or 2 green peppers Wash off the peppers and remove the seeds. Cut the peppers into 1-inch squares, roughly the same size as the chicken livers.
6 cloves garlic Smash the garlic cloves with the fiat side of your cleaver, then peel. Chop the garlic coarsely, into pieces about the size of grains of uncooked rice.

Cooking

2 tablespoons peanut oil Heat your wok or pan over a high flame for 15 seconds, then add the oil. The oil will be hot enough for cooking when the first tiny bubbles form and a few small wisps of smoke appear.
(green peppers) When the oil is ready, add the peppers. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, using your cooking shovel or spoon in a scooping motion to spread them around in the hot oil.
½ teaspoon salt Add the salt and continue to stir-fry the peppers for 2 more minutes. Then remove them from the pan.

6 tablespoons peanut oil

(garlic)

3 dried red peppers or 1 tablespoon hot pepper paste (optional)

(chicken livers)

Reheat the pan and pour in the fresh oil. When the oil is hot enough for cooking, add the garlic and the optional red peppers or hot pepper paste. Stir-fry carefully for 40 seconds, then add the chicken liver mixture and stir-fry for about 45 seconds longer.
(green peppers) Return the partially cooked green peppers to the pan and stir-fry everything together for 3 minutes.
½ teaspoon granulated sugar Add the sugar. Stir-fry the livers for a final 15 seconds, then, after testing them to make sure they are thoroughly cooked, serve.

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