Not all who wander are lost. . in the brilliant words of J.R.R Tolkien. Sometimes we’re at home restlessly wondering, floundering, worrying if we’ll ever wander again? The time in-between adventures can be the most desolate for this mama. I struggle through the hum-drum details of a daily routine. Auto-pilot is the danger here. I adore my family, friends and home but my nomadic heart can get lost in the daily grind.
Thankfully, when my heart needs a taste of adventure I can wander as far as my local ethnic market. Thai, Indian, Nigerian, their colors, tools, meats, vegetables and spices can enliven any after school doldrums. My kids get to wander the aisles and practice cultural sensitivity (Yes, it smells intense but this is the food of their culture, how do you think hot dogs seem to them?) and explore drinks, fruit or sweet treats.
As a bonus our finds become hospitable moments and ways to invite our friends and family into our adventures.
This recipe & a precious packet of Xinjiang Spice were a gift from friends who introduced me to their corner of the world in 2015. Spices are brilliant souvenirs that keep the memories fresh. Originally birthed from Xinjiang Province of China this has all the flavors of the Silk Road where multiple cultures overlap.
I love one pot meals but this can also be served with my Sichuan Green Beans.
Silk Road Cuisine Dan Pan Ji or Big Plate Chicken
- 1 lb chicken thighs, boneless
- 3 or 4 potatoes (Peel potatoes, slice into 0.5 cm thick slices)
- 2 chopped tomatoes
- 3 red chillies and 3 green chillies
- 1 Tbsp Xinjiang Spice (available at Amazon or see below for recipe)
- 1 piece fresh ginger 2.5 cm (~1 in) (sliced),
- 2 or 3 green onions (chopped),
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Rice Wine
- Dark Soy Sauce
- 1Tbs Sesame Oil
- 2 Tbs Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Sugar
- Wide noodles
- Prepare wide noodles in a pot of slightly salted water. Boil until al dente.
- Heat sesame oil and olive oil in a wok or pan.
- Add in the spices and cook until fragrant.
- Add the chicken pieces. Stir fry on high heat to seal the chicken and infuse the flavours.
- Add the potato slices and stir to seal
- Add the sliced green onions
- Add two chopped tomatoes
- Stir to mix and coat.
- Add about ½ cup of water. Bring to the boil.
- Add soy sauce and 1 Tbsp Rice Wine.
- Simmer until the chicken is cooked.
- Transfer to a large serving plate.
- Add some freshly cooked wide noodles to the plate and mix with the plate contents.
XinJian Spice Recipe
- 4 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 bay leaves
- 6 slices fresh ginger
- 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
- 6 -10 whole dried red chilies (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
From our table to yours. . . here’s to everyday adventures.