Sze chuen jar gai (Fried Sichuan chicken)


500g chicken breast fillets
85g cornflour, plus 2 teaspoons extra
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder, plus ¼ teaspoon extra
125ml Gai sheung tong
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 teaspoons chinese wine or dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
125ml oil
15 large dried red chillies, seeded
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
4 spring onions, cut into short lengths


  1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Mix together the cornflour, salt and five-spice powder and toss to coat the chicken pieces in the mixture, then dust off any excess cornflour.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the stock, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, wine, the extra five-spice powder and pepper. In a separate bowl, combine the extra cornflour with 1 tablespoon cold water and stir to make a smooth paste.
  3. Heat the oil in a wok or large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, deep-fry the chicken, in batches, turning until brown all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Repeat until all of the chicken is cooked.
  4. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the wok and cook the chillies, garlic and ginger until the chillies turn dark. Add the spring onion and toss for a few seconds, then add the stock mixture and bring to the boil. Add the cornflour paste and stir constantly until the sauce boils and thickens. Add the chicken and toss to heat through. Serve immediately with rice.
From The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon.

Mike Powell


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