Iggy Jang’s Symphony Of Flavors

Hawaii Symphony Orchestra is in its second season and has a particularly good lineup with top artists including violinist Sarah Chang, pianist Joyce Yang, banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck and the inimitable Sir James Galway – the preeminent flutist of our time. There’s even a one-night-only performance of Beethoven’s Ninth, Dec. 23, timed perfectly for the holidays. But with just six concert programs in the works, you’ll have to snap up tickets early.

Music is food for the senses. For Ignace “Iggy” Jang, the orchestra’s popular concertmaster, his French heritage (born in France to Korean parents) makes him adept at both cooking and music. Here he shares one of his favorite French recipes with MidWeek readers: Poulet au Citron, aka Lemon Chicken, from a Chinese-French point of view. He says, “When I lived in Paris in the ’80s, my mom knew some Chinese chefs, and this is their version, aimed at the uncompromising French palate. Refined, subtle yet complex, healthy and tasty.”

This is a much healthier version of the lemon chicken served in most Chinese restaurants, as it is not coated in batter and deep fried.

Shiitake mushrooms have been used by the Chinese for more than 6,000 years. They have been shown to strengthen the immune system, and some studies are showing they also are beneficial to the cardiovascular system. They are a very good source of B vitamins, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, copper, zinc and dietary fiber, and a good source of protein, magnesium, vitamin D and iron. They also provide a wide variety of unique phytonutrients.

POULET AU CITRON According to Iggy

* 1 small chicken
* salt and pepper, to taste
* 5 tablespoons vegetableoil
* 5-6 dried shiitake mushrooms
* 1 red bell pepper
* zest from 2 small lemons
* 5 stalks chives
* 4 slices ginger
* 1 tablespoon butter (or substitute)
* 5 tablespoons clear broth
* 4 tablespoons shao hsin cooking wine
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

Cut chicken into bitesize pieces. Marinate in salt, pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil. Soak dried mushrooms in water for 30 minutes, then slice. Slice bell pepper into strips. Chop chives; peel and chop ginger. Heat skillet or wok to high heat; sauté chicken for 2 minutes. When hot, remove chicken from wok; put into bowl. Keep warm.

In skillet, melt butter (or substitute), add ginger, bell pepper, mushrooms. Sauté 1 minute. Add lemon zest and chives. Sauté 1/2 minute. Add clear broth (the water used to soak the mushrooms is A-OK as a substitute), shao hsin wine, sugar and soy.

Makes four to six servings.