A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 03, 2019
Imperial Chicken

There are at least two versions of “Imperial Chicken.”

A “Imperial Chicken” version with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese, parsley and garlic was printed in the Ladies’ Home Journal (New York, NY) in August 1957. Another recipe was printed in the New York (NY) Times on December 3, 1964.

A Chinese version of “Imperial Chicken” was served at the Peking Duck restaurant in Mountain View, California, in the 1950s and 1960s, and first cited in the San Francisco (CA) Chronicle on June 9, 1958. On September 20, 1959, the Chronicle printed this is “Imperial Chicken (sauteed with special sauce and water chestnuts—$1.95).”

“Imperial chicken—diced breast of chicken with vegetables, cashew nuts, water chestnuts, and prepared with special sauces” was printed in the Los Angeles (CA) Times on June 4, 1964. ”Imperial Chicken (with chestnuts in a Peking chili sauce)” was printed in the The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec) on March 3, 1972. “Also outstanding is han imperial chicken — chicken slices, battered and deep-fried, and served on a bed of Chinese vegetables” was printed in Cue magazine (New York, NY) in 1972.

Another “imperial” dish is “Crab Imperial.”


August 1957, Ladies’ Home Journal (New York, NY), “Chicken, golden crisp and tender,” pg. 124, col. 2:
IMPERIAL CHICKEN
Remove the crust from a loaf of unsliced bread. Grate the bread into fine crumbs, using the coarse side of the grater. You should have enough to make 2 cups or so of crumbs. Spread them out on a flat pan or tray to dry overnight. When ready to cook, mix the crumbs with 3/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1 clove garlic, crushed, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Chicken needs plenty of pepper, so don’t settle for just a dash. Have a frying chicken or young capon cut up into serving pieces. Then dip ech piece into melted butter (you’ll need about 1/4 pound in all), then into the crumb mixture. Be sure each piece is well coated. Arrange the pieces so they don’t overlap in an open, shallow roasting pan. Dot with 2 tablespoons more butter. Bake 1 hour or until fork-tender in a moderate oven, 350 degrees F. It will take a little longer for the capon. Do not turn chicken. Though 6 people can each have a piece from 1 chicken or capon, a hungry crowd will require a second chicken.

3 October 1957, Delhi (LA) Dispatch, “Favorite Recipes” by Lederle Toler, pg. 5, col. 5:
Imperial Chicken
Approximately 1 1/2 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese or Romano, grated
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, rushed
2 t. salt
1/3 t. blk. pepper
1 fryer, cut-up
approximately 1/4 lb. melted oleo or butter
Combine crumbs with Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, and blk. pepper. Cut up fryer and dip each piece into melted oleo or butter, then into crumb mixture, coating each piece well. Arrange piece so that they don’t overlap—in a shallow greased baking pan or dish. Dot with 2 Tbs. more butter. Bake 1 hr. or until fork tender in 350 degree oven. Do not cover chicken and do not turn chicken, Serves 3 or 4 persons.

9 June 1958, San Francisco (CA) Chronicle, Gourmet Guide, pg. 29, col. 3:
(Peking Duck, 702 Villa Street at the corner of Hope Street, Mountain View.—ed.)
Features authentic North China cuisine and Peking Duck. Delicacies include Imperial Chicken, Mongolian Lamb, Shanghai Shrimp.

4 September 1959, Fort Lauderdale (FL) News, pg. 25-C, col. 4 ad:
Imperial Chicken Chow Mein
(Town House Lounge Restaurant, 205 S.E. 1st Ave.—ed.)

20 September 1959, San Francisco (CA) Sunday Chronicle, “The Food of Peking—Rich and Piquant” by J. L. Pimsleur, Datebook sec., pg. 6, col. 3:
(Peking Duck, 702 Villa Street at the corner of Hope Street, Mountain View.—ed.)
Recommended dishes include the Mongolian Lamb (sauteed with green onions and garlic—$1.85); Imperial Chicken (sauteed with special sauce and water chestnuts—$1.95); ...

4 February 1962, Tampa (FL) Tribune, pg. 12-B, col. 1 ad:
Imperial Chicken
Sliced white meat or chicken, sliced ham, Chinese greens, celery, onion, water chestnut and bamboo shoots
(Hawaiian Village, 2522 North Dale Mabry Highway.—ed.)

4 June 1964, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Round About” with Art Ryon, pg. A30, col. 3:
It is the Li-Ling restaurant at 6556 Hollywood Blvd., (between Vine St. and Highland Ave.)
(...)
But the rather extensive menu features Peking duck, Mongolian beef and Imperial chicken—diced breast of chicken with vegetables, cashew nuts, water chestnuts, and prepared with special sauces.

3 December 1964, New York (NY) Times, “Entertaining With a Barbecue Is Big in Big D: Dallas Couple Serve 200 Guests at an Annual Cookout” by Craig Claiborne, pg. 60, col. 3:
IMPERIAL CHICKEN
1 small loaf of bread
3/4 cup freshly graded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 glove garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper (use a generous amount)
1 four-pound chicken, cut into serving pieces
1/4 pound butter, melted.

3 March 1972, The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec), “People & Places” by Douglas Leopold, pg. 22, col. 1:
(Peking Palace, 103 St. Catherine East.—ed.)
... Imperial Chicken (with chestnuts in a Peking chili sauce), ...

Google Books
Cue (New York, NY)
Volume 41, Issues 40-52
1972
Pg. 42:
Also outstanding is han imperial chicken — chicken slices, battered and deep-fried, and served on a bed of Chinese vegetables.

29 December 1973, The Citizen (Ottawa, ON), “Eating Out” by Paula Collins, pg. 50, col. 6:
(Pine Tree Village, 354 Elgin Street.—ed.)
Almost as good as the pork was Imperial chicken in chili sauce ($2.50). Also spicy and hot, the dish included an interesting combination of bean curd, green pepper and peanuts.

5 January 1974, The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec), “Helen Rochester Dines Out,” pg. 25, col. 1:
(Shanghai Restaurant, 1129 Bleury Street.—ed.)
The other dish was Imperial chicken in chili sauce ($2.20), a Peking dish of cubed chicken breast with green peppers, bamboo shoots, cashew nuts and a very hot sauce.

13 February 1977, Washington (DC) Star, Chinese New Year sec., pg. ?, col. 3 ad:
Imperial Chicken
(Dragon Palace, 3503 South Jefferson Street, Falls Church, VA.—ed.)

Google Books
Cleveland’s Fine Restaurants
By Robert Turizziani and Betty Gabrielli
Cincinnati, OH: Restaurants International
1989
Pg. 93:
IMPERIAL CHICKEN 9.95
Chunks of lightly breaded chicken in our Chef’s special brown sauce

Google Books
The Dana Thornock lean & free 2000 plus weight control system
By Dana Thornock
Kaysville, UT: Danmar Health Corporation
1992
Pg. 344:
Chun King Imperial Chicken 13 oz 1 294 (calories—ed.)

Newsday (Long Island, NY)
Jue Lan Club review: Southampton restaurant is a stylish dinner spot
By Melissa McCart

July 14, 2016 10:40 AM
(...)
Imperial chicken — a dish of fried chicken breast tossed with mushrooms, sprouts and chilies dressed in sesame and soy — stands as one of several imports among the greatest hits of Philippe Chow.

Wichita (KS) Eagle
Magic Wok a longtime favorite on the west side
BY JOHNNA KOLAR
WICHITA EAGLE DINING PANEL
SEPTEMBER 23, 2016 11:35 AM,
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 23, 2016 10:36 AM
(...)
The Imperial Chicken was lightly breaded and mixed with broccoli, carrots, peppers and celery in a flavorful, spicy brown sauce.

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Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Thursday, January 03, 2019 • Permalink