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Gong Bao Ji Ding (Sichuan Chicken)
Chicken with peanuts and chillies

sechwan chicken

In my early teens my dad was bought his first wok by his very good friend Bill. Now it’s a bit of a tradition that when we are all home he will spend all day grating, mincing, dicing and slicing and putting on an amazing Chinese buffet spread. This is my favourite of those dishes. Thank you Daddy!
The recipe originally comes from a 2003 Sainsbury’s cook book called Cooking of China by Ken Hom.

500g chicken breast cut into 1cm cubes
1 egg white
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cornflour
300ml oil (groundnut or vegetable)
2 dried chillies, halved lengthways
125g roasted peanuts (or 300g peanuts if weighed in the shell – known as monkey nuts)
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
2 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
2 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry*
2 tbsp dark soy sauce*
2 tsp sugar*
2 tsp chilli bean sauce*
2 tsp cider vinegar*
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp sesame oil
chopped spring onions to garnish
Boiled rice to serve

*these ingredients can be measured together into a small prep bowl as they are added at the same time.

1. Mix the egg white with the cornflour and salt, then coat the chicken in the mix. Place the chicken in the fridge and chill for 20 mins.

2. Heat the groundnut or vegetable oil in the skillet to a high heat, then add the chicken, stirring well. Remove the skillet from the heat and allow the chicken to cook for 3 mins in the oil.

3. Stand a sieve over a heat proof jug or bowl, the drain the chicken into the sieve. Wipe out the skillet with kitchen paper, then return 1 1/2 tbsp of the oil to the skillet and return to the heat.

4. Quickly add the chillies and the peanuts and stir fry for 30 seconds (this WILL go for the back of your throat!) until the peanuts are toasted and the chillies are blackened.
Add the chilli, garlic and spring onions for a further 30 seconds. Then return the chicken to the pan and stir fry for one minute. Add the rice wine mixture and cook for 2 more minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

5. Stir the last teaspoon of cornflour into a tablespoon of cold water and then add to the pan. Allow the sauce to thicken, then add the sesame oil and stir through.
Serve in bowls on a bed of fluffy rice with a scattering of spring onions.