This restaurant favorite is based on a traditional Chinese recipe and is really popular not only in restaurants across the country but in our homes too. The recipe is quite easy to follow and should serve 4 adults easily. Have all your ingredients ready and portioned out before you begin because once you start cooking things move relatively quickly. For maximum flavor add some of the garlic in with your chicken not just the marinade. In regard to the chilies leave them whole if you like a mild heat and chop them finely if you like your meals hot. As everyone these days is cooking on a budget be sure to visit your local Asian grocery store where you will pick up all your ingredients cheaper than any regular supermarket. I have never had anyone talk bad about this dish and if you like Chinese food you are going to love it.
- 2 pounds chicken thigh cut into bite sized cubes
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 8-12 dried chinese chillies
- 1/4 Szechuan peppers, crushed or whole whichever you prefer.
- 1/2 cup finely sliced scallion
- About 2 cups Japanese Panko breadcrumbs
- Chopped scallions and coriander for garnishing
- 2-3 handfulls of cashew nuts
- A handful each of chopped scallion and coriander according to taste
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch white pepper
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
- Mix together the marinade ingredients and add it to the chicken. Ensure the chicken is throughly coated then set it aside for at least 15 minutes.
- Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- Heat the peanut oil in your wok over high heat till it starts to smoke. You can test this by putting in prawn crackers into the oil. If they bloom out sufficiently quickly, then it’s hot enough.
- One at a time, bread the chicken pieces with the breadcrumbs. Pat the crumbs in firmly so they don’t drop off in the oil, and shake off excess crumbs. Deepfry them in the hot oil till nicely browned. Don’t worry too much about whether they are cooked through, they get a second cooking later.
- Pour off all but about 3 tablespoons of the oil and turn the heat up again. When it starts smoking add in the chillies and szechuan pepper and fry till fragrant. Add in the cashews and fry till it takes on a roasty brown colour.
- Add the chicken and continue frying till the chillies look a bit burnt.
- Give the sauce mixture a stir then pour it over everything. Toss to coat evenly, then add the chopped scallions. Give it another stir around till the scallions look half cooked.
- Serve it up piping hot, garnished generously with scallions and coriander.