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Hunan Chicken

Hunan Chicken (Photo by Flesh for Blood/flickr)

Hunan Chicken (Photo by Flesh for Blood/flickr)

Serves 6.


1 kg/2 lb thigh or drumstick fillets
1 teaspoon Szechwan pepper husks (no seeds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 tablespoons Chinese wine or sherry
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 dried red chillies
1 spring onion (scallion), finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon oriental sesame oil
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chilli bean sauce or to taste


Flatten the chicken fillets by pounding with the blunt edge of a cleaver, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

Roast pepper in a dry pan, stirring or shaking the pan, until fragrant, then turn onto a board and crush finely or pound using a mortar and pestle. Mix with salt and sprinkle over chicken, mix and leave 5-10 minutes.

Stir together the soy sauce, wine and sugar until sugar dissolves. Pour over chicken, turning the pieces well in the marinade and leave for 30 minutes.

Heat a wok, add the peanut oil and fry the dried chillies for 1 minute. Add spring onion, ginger and garlic and stir-fry for no more than 10 seconds. Add chicken and marinade and stir-fry on high heat until all the chicken has come in contact with the hot wok and changed colour. Turn heat low, cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 5 minutes.

Combine sesame oil, vinegar and chilli bean sauce. If there is too much liquid in the wok raise heat and turn pieces of chicken over until the sauce reduces and coats the chicken. Pour the vinegar mixture over and toss to distribute. Discard dry chillies and serve immediately, with steamed rice.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)

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