Happy Monday All!! The sun is shining and the air is fresh, making me feel very happy today. It seems like the perfect day to FINALLY share what I deem to be one of the best (and only) recipes I’ve ever followed to a T….these Schnitzel Bao with Sesame Pickles from Molly Yeh…
But first, how was everyone’s Easter weekend??? I hope it was as wonderful as ours. I’m actually not ready for it to be over. The kids, and grown ups, had a blast and it just feels like it should be summer break already! I’m SO ready for it to be here and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. We finally had some sunny and warm days in a row making it perfect for getting out the charcoal and cooking up some super delicious burgers on Saturday. It’s funny how even if you slightly overcook a burger on a charcoal grill, the flavor that they get from the smoke of the chips still makes them taste crazy good (which might be what happened…). So we did that with some corn on the cob and broccoli, but we also had those mussels and a nice big caeser salad to start with. It was definitely a day of winning with food around here. Which continued into yesterday with some amazing grilled leg of lamb at my mom’s. I’m sneaking over there later to get some leftovers. You’d think I’d be lamb-ed out by now, but nope…
But enough about lamb, let’s talk about this amazing recipe from Molly. A couple of months ago I sort of went on a cookbook shopping spree. I don’t buy cookbooks very often because I literally never follow them. It’s just too much work for me and I’ve always cooked by feel. So unless they have amazing photos that I know will inspire me, or stories that I might find fun to read, they stay at the store. I love Molly’s blog and her stories, and I love the different ways she incorporates her background into her culinary style. So I knew that when her cookbook came out, I’d have to have it. I was just a little bit late to the party…
The day it came, I sat down and did a quick thumb through, and then carried it around with me wherever I went so that I could read it when I had any extra time (is that even a thing?). When I came across this schnitzel recipe, I did an out loud gasp and said ‘we have to make this tonight!’, and ran out for chicken and cucumbers. I’m not sure there is a way to begin describing how much I love fried chicken of any kind. I LOVE IT TO THE MOON AND BACK. Like 5 times. So that’s the first thing that drew me completely into this. Then she had to go and add two more of my favorite flavors in…toasted sesame oil cukes and Sriracha sauce. Put all this together into a soft, pillowy bao bun? I died…
We’ve made this two more times since, and I’d honestly make it every week if I didn’t think I’d go into a crispy chicken coma. We made homemade bao buns because I’d been dying to use the steaming basket that I bought specifically to try and make them ourselves. But I know you can buy them pretty readily at the store these days. And if you can’t find them and don’t want to make them yourself, I’m thinking a pita will do the trick as a stand in. These are worth every little step to make and I’m so glad that Molly agreed to letting me share them with you here because I’m a big advocate of sharing the love through food. ENJOY!!!
Molly's Schnitzel Bao with Sesame Pickles
- 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- flavorless oil, for deep frying
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- pinch of kosher salt and pepper
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 12 equal pieces
- lemon wedges
- 12 steamed gua bao, store bought or homemade (Molly's recipe is here)
- Sriracha mayo (1/4 cup mayonnaise mixed with 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce, or to taste
To make the pickles: In a medium bowl, mix together the cucumber, crushed red pepper, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the schnitzel: Pour 1 1/2 inches of oil into a large heavy pot or high-sided skillet. Clip on a deep-fry thermometer and heat the oil over medium-high heat to 360 degrees F.
Set up a dredging station: Place the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in each of three separate bowls. Season the breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon of salt and a few turns of pepper.
Place a piece of chicken between two large pieces of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin or other blunt object to pound the chicken until it is as thin and you can make it without it tearing. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Coat the chicken in flour, egg wash, and breadcrumbs and fry in batches, flipping once, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain and season both sides with salt and pepper and squeeze with lemon.
To assemble: Spread the insides of a bao with Sriracha mayo and fill with a piece of chicken schnitzel and a few pickles.
Printed with permission from Molly Yeh from her cookbook Molly on the Range