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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sichuan Style Chicken...mmm Spicy!

It has certainly been a while between posts but it has been a crazy last couple of months for me, capping off 2011. 
So firstly Happy New Year! I hope 2012 is prosperous and filled with all things good, especially foodie goodness. My absence has been a combination of a few things - being extra busy at home, cooking and eating without blogging, a back injury, hospital stay for a week, recovery in bed and being on a diet of pain killers is hardly enough inspiration to bring myself to blog.
I am on the mend now so I'm back. I still walk with a limp but was today finally able to stand (in the kitchen) for long enough to prepare and cook a meal for the family. So to commemorate my return to the cooktop I felt it best to pick up where I had left off - in the world of Sichuan cuisine. 
Paying homage to the fiery crispy chilli chicken dish from Pepper Chilli here is my rendition. I have taken the crispy out of my recipe as I just cannot achieve the crunch that I remember so well when I ordered this dish from Pepper Chilli. The taste explosion is definitely there though, and you can really put some kick into the dish by the amount of chilli you use. This recipe combines dried chilli flakes, cayenne pepper powder, fresh chilli paste and chilli sauce - each adding a different element to the final taste, which you can choose to serve with the abundance of whole dried chillies as done so at many Sichuan haunts - but today I didn't, so you will notice their absence in the pictures that follow.

Ingredients, to serve 4-5 with steamed rice.

  • 1 x Whole Chicken, approx 1.2kg, skin removed 
  • 2 x Egg Whites, beaten in a large mixing bowl
  • 2tbsp x Cornflour
  • 2tsp x Chinese 5 Spice powder
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 1 x Carrot, Red Capsicum, Zucchini (Courgette)
  • 1 x Brown Onion, diced finely
  • 6-8 x Sichuan Peppercorns, toasted and crushed to a powder
  • 2tbsp x Tomato Sauce (to glaze)
  • Spring Onions or Chives to garnish
For the sauce combine the following in a bowl and set aside
  • 1tbsp x Chilli Paste (Sambal Olek)
  • 1tsp x Cayenne Pepper Powder (less if you prefer it milder)
  • 1tsp x Chilli Flakes (less if you prefer it milder)
  • 2tsp x Chilli Sauce of your choice, (I used Siracha)
  • 1tbsp x Crushed Ginger
  • 2tbsp x Shao Xing wine
  • 2tbsp x Sesame Oil
  • 2tbsp x Brown Sugar
  • 1tbsp x Dark Soy
  • 1tsp x Worcestershire Sauce

Cut the chicken down into as many small pieces as you can, use a cleaver to chop through the bones.
Combine the cornflour and 5 spice powder with the beaten egg whites then stir in the chicken pieces.

Set aside to marinate while you prepare the vegetables
Peel the carrot and cut into strips then into small dice, do the same for the capsicum and zucchini.
Heat enough oil in a wok to deep fry.

In batches, fry the chicken until cooked through (about 4-5 minutes per batch)
Drain cooked chicken pieces on absorbent paper and set aside

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the wok and bring to high heat
Stir fry all diced vegetables including the onion for 3 minutes
Add the sauce and stir through a little water to thin out slightly
Return the cooked chicken to the wok and fold gently to coat with sauce, add a little more water if necessary
Bring to the boil and add the tomato sauce, cook for 1-2 minutes
Sprinkle the Sichuan peppercorn powder and stir through
Garnish with spring onions and serve with steamed rice

"This dish is sure to pack a punch, and depending on your chilli additions it is sure to satisfy any chilli addicts palette. You can substitute the chicken for white fish fillets or even prawns for a different take.
For a (dare I say) healthier option use lean breast chicken strips and omit the battering and deep frying. Just add to the wok when the sauce is boiling and cook until done."


Adrienne said...

looks delicious, would it work with tofu?!

ngizee said...

Hi Adrienne, I'm not too sure about firm silken tofu (the wobbly white stuff) as this sauce is quite strong and really compliments the blandish fried chicken bits by coating them. Maybe it would work with the fried tofu cakes as they would absorb the flavours quite well. You may want to reduce the amount of soy sauce to a teaspoon so that the dish does not turn out too salty. Let me know how it goes otherwise I have to come over and get busy with your wok.