Chinese The Chinese Cook Book

Almond Chicken (Hun-Yuen Guy Ding)

A typical dish of Chinese-American cuisine that is especially popular on the East Coast of America, most notably in Michigan, I present for you today Almond Chicken, or ABC as it is commonly referred to in Detroit.

I came across this recipe while perusing the “Hong Kong” chapter of Trader Vic’s Pacific Island Cookbook but instead cooking that recipe, I decided to consult my go-to Chinese cook book The Chinese Cook Book by Wallace Yee Hong. However, this recipe has roots deep into the early 20th century with an early rendition of it being featured in The Chinese Cook Book by Shiu Wong Chan, released in 1917.

A fairly straightforward stir-fry dish that would have been fairly easy on the mid-century palette but perhaps comes across a little middle of the road today. I think the greatest selling feature of this dish is in its nostalgia value, which exudes such a flawless charm of old school Chinese takeout. All it’s missing is the paper box.

Ingredients

1 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups white chicken meat, diced
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp rice wine
1 cup bamboo shoots, diced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Chinese cabbage, diced
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp MSG
1 tsp heavy soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 toased slivered almonds

Directions

  1. Mix together the light soy sauce, minced ginger, and rice wine. Add 1 tsp of water. Set aside.
  2. Combine cornstarch, MSG, heavy soy sauce, and sugar. Add 1 cup of water. Set aside.
  3. Heat peanut oil in wok. Add salt and garlic. Next, add the chicken and cook until browned.
  4. Pour in the soy/rice wine sauce then add the chopped vegetables and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken stock, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir smooth the cornstarch solution, pour in and stir together until the sauce thickens.
  7. Sprinkle with toasted almond and serve with rice.