Anyone who went to college in the Boston/Cambridge area has ordered from Quan’s Kitchen at least once. Generous portions of greasy Chinese food, low prices, and delivery until 1am — what more could a college kid want? Pulling an all-nighter to study for a test? Order some Quan’s to keep your energy up. Hungry after a night of drinking with your friends? Greasy Chinese food cures hangovers. Tired of dining hall food? Q-U-A-N-S!
Quan’s actually has pretty decent authentic Chinese food, but the majority of its young clientele are of the Kung Pao Chicken persuasion. Yuck. Dan used to be one of those people. Back when Dan was a Chinese food noob, he was a huge fan of the Orange Chicken at Panda Cafe. When he discovered Quan’s, he loved the General Gao’s Chicken. He eventually moved on to the Udon Noodles, and then finally settled into a long Salt and Pepper Chicken phase. In fact, after I graduated and moved away to start law school, Dan quickly fell into the habit of ordering SPC from Quan’s multiple times per week, and sometimes twice a day. Delicious, yes. Healthy, no. Is he any fatter? No. Unfair!
Thankfully, since moving down here with me, Dan’s eating habits have improved, largely because I am the Decider of Meals. But, even I still get the occasional Quan’s craving, and after watching Dan gaze longingly at a fraternity brother’s Salt and Pepper Chicken during our most recent visit up north, I decided to replicate the dish for him in our kitchen.
None of the recipes I found online seemed quite right, so I winged it. I chopped up a couple boneless chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, dredged them in a flour/salt/pepper/garlic powder mixture, and pan-fried them in some olive oil. Result? Delicious! But not all were as crispy as they should be. I over-crowded the first batch in the pan, and the chicken took a long time to crisp up, and even then not by a whole lot. The second batch had room to breathe, and they not only cooked all the way through more quickly, but were also wonderfully crispy. Dan was a happy camper!
Salt and Pepper Chicken
Ingredients: (All measurements were eyeballed, so…good luck!)
– 4 thin boneless chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces.
– 1 cup flour
– Salt + pepper + garlic powder to taste (I used probably 3 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp pepper, and 1 tbsp garlic)
– 2/3 cup olive oil
(1) In a medium bowl, mix flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder until well combined.
(2) Add chopped, raw chicken to the mixture, and toss until each piece is completely coated.
(3) Heat olive oil in skillet on high heat.
(4) Cook chicken in two or three batches, making sure not to crowd the pan.
(5) Cook until chicken is golden and crispy.
(6) Serve with a big bowl of fluffy white rice.