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Austin Koo's Mandarin (Chicago IL)
|(312) 236-1666||318 West Adams,|
The year is 1993, the time New Year's eve, and food critic James Ward of WLS-TV's Channel 7 (ABC) has just announced his annual 'Top Ten Favorite Restaurants' in middle-America. Of course every restaurant considers it a great honor to be chosen from among the twenty-thousand or so in the tri-state area of Indiana, Wisconsin, and Illinois. This year Austin Koo's Mandarin is listed in the third spot right after Bossa Nova and Cafe Iberica. Since these pronouncements began in 1986, this was only the second Chinese restaurant to make this prestigious list; an honor indeed!
If you are lucky or smart or both, go to the Chicago loop and across the street from the Sears Towers, enjoy savoring their special treats. The luckiest people are those who work in downtown Chicago; the smart ones the others willing to make a special trip for an extraordinary dining experience at very ordinary neighborhood prices.
You will find a sophisticated roster of Sichuan savories expertly executed as are dishes from many other provinces of China. Try the Orange Beef, the neat nest of crisp potato sticks enclosing Shrimp and Scallops in Creamy Sauce, and the hot and spicy General Tso's Chicken, whose recipe they have kindly given for you to try at home.
Austin Koo's Mandarin has collaborated with Rodale food consultants, the folks who publish Prevention Magazine, to create Chicken with Chinese Vegetables and seventeen other special delectable and diet conscious menu items; their fat, cholesterol and sodium analyzed for patron consideration. In order to be dietary specific, the restaurant is careful to pre-weigh all ingredients before cooking them. Aside from the fantastic diet food and wonderful classic culinary creations, a unique feature of this restaurant is that their seven cooks are all Mexican-Americans trained by an experienced and expert Chinese chef. If you never thought it possible that authentic Chinese food could be made in this cross-cultural manner, go taste it and be as pleased and impressed as others have been. After you do, it can be one of your top ten restaurants, too!
And in the meantime, or until you do, try and taste a pair of recipes from this restaurant.
|General Tzo's Chicken|
1 pound chicken, dark meat only
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
5 scallions, minced, white part only
2 cups soybean oil (for frying)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon shredded ginger root
2 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon wine or dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
1. Chop the chicken into one-half to one-inch pieces. Flatten each slightly by slapping with the flat side of a cleaver or knife.
2. Mix five tablespoons of water with the eggs, salt and pepper, and four of the scallions, then mix with the chicken pieces. 3. Heat oil in a wok or deep pan to about 350 degrees F. Drain the chicken from the egg mixture and fry it about four minutes, then remove it from the oil.
4. Reheat the oil to about 375 degrees F and refry the chicken for one minute; it should be golden brown. Remove it from the oil and set the oil aside in another container.
5. In the wok or pan, add the rest of the scallions, garlic, and ginger and fry ten seconds then add the chicken and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and remove to a serving dish.
|Chicken with Chinese Vegetables|
7 ounces boneless chicken breast
4 and 1/2 ounces bok choy
1 and 1/2 ounces bamboo shoots
1 ounce snow pea pods
1/2 ounce vegetable oil
1/2 egg white
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons cooking wine
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cooking wine
1 teaspoon sugar
10 Tablespoons chicken stock
1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed with one tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1. Cut chicken breast into one- by two-inch thin slices and place it in the marinade mixture for ten minutes.
2. Cut bok choy into same size pieces as the chicken breast and set aside.
3. Heat wok, add half the oil and stir-fry the chicken for half a minute. Remove and set aside.
4. Add the rest of the oil and fry all the vegetables for one minute then return the chicken to the wok with all the condiments except the cornstarch paste and sesame oil.
5. Add cornstarch paste and stir-fry another minute. Add sesame oil and serve.