Sichuan Chicken with Peanuts

By Saturday, July 07, 2012

With the success of the Twice Cooked Pork I decided I would try another Fuchsia Dunlop recipe from her book Sichuan Cookery. Once again the trick with this type of dish is preparing all of the ingredients in advance. I prepared the chicken a few hours before cooking in order to give time for the chicken to properly marinade. I tripled the recipe in order for it to be able to serve 6 people.  

This dish has a delightful contrast between its hard and soft ingredients, the peanuts and the chicken, and sweet-and-sour flavour, with the soy sauce and Chinese vinegar. Visually, the dish is a real treat. The combination of soy sauces, Shaoxing wine and oils created a beautiful burnt orange sauce which powerfully contrasted with the deep red chillies. The actual taste of the dish was equally as pleasing. The sweet-and-sour sauce worked well with the tingly Sichuan pepper and the sharp kick of the dried peppers. The crispy peanuts gave the dish texture. Overall this dish was a big success. I served the chicken with basmati rice and milk for those who couldn't take the Sichuan spice! 

You will need:

6 chicken breasts
9 garlic cloves, equal amount of fresh ginger 
10 spring onions (white parts only)
6 tbsp sunflower oil
20 dried chillies
3 tsp Sichuan pepper
120g roasted peanuts

For the marinade:
1 1/2 tsp rock salt
6 tsp light soy sauce
3 tsp Shaoxing wine
5 tsp potato flour
3 tbsp water

For the sauce:
9 tsp sugar
3 1/2 tsp potato flour
3 tsp dark soy sauce
3 tsp light soy sauce
9 tsp black Chinese vinegar
3 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 tbsp water

Cut the chicken into large bite size pieces. 

Place in a bowl and mix with the marinade ingredients, ensuring all of the chicken gets properly covered. Transfer to a large refrigerator bag and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

Chop the garlic, ginger and spring onions into chunks, not too small to prevent them from burning in the wok. 

Chop each chilli into quarters, shaking away any obvious seeds. Pour into a ramekin and leave to one side.

Measure out the Sichuan pepper into a ramekin and leave to one side. 

Mix up the sauce in a small bowl.

Season the wok, as described in the pork recipe. Then add the sunflower oil - once it begins to smoke add the chillies and pepper. Stir for a few seconds until the oil becomes infused with their fragrance. Do not overcook the chillies, a few seconds will do. 

Add the chicken to the wok straight from the marinade bag. Once the chicken begins to turn white add the garlic, ginger and spring onions. Fry for a few minutes until the chicken is cooked. 

Stir the sauce in order for the potato flour to immerse itself into the mixture. Add to the wok and stir for a minute or so, regularly tossing the chicken to prevent it from sticking. Once the mixture has thickened, add the peanuts. Remove the wok from the heat and stir for a few seconds to allow the peanuts to distribute themselves equally. Transfer to a hot serving dish and serve. Enjoy!

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