Velveted Chicken with Snow Peas

(Photo by rockYOface/Flickr)

Serves 4.


500 g/1 lb chicken breast fillets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Chinese wine or sherry
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
500 ml/1 pint/2 cups peanut oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
125 g/4 oz snow peas
125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon oriental sesame oil


Remove fat and sinew from chicken breast. Cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) dice, and in a bowl mix with the salt and wine and the slightly beaten egg white. Leave for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with the cornflour and 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

String the snow peas. Combine stock, soy sauce, cornflour and sesame oil ready for the final step.

Heat the peanut oil in a wok and over medium heat fry the chicken pieces, stirring with wooden chopsticks to keep them separate and making sure they don't overcook. When they turn white, pour chicken and oil into a colander over a metal or other heatproof bowl. Return wok to heat with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and on gentle heat fry the ginger and garlic, stirring, until fragrant and pale golden. Add the snow peas, raise heat and stir-fry for 1 minute. Stir the liquid ingredients to disperse the cornflour and pour into the wok, and as soon as the sauce boils and becomes clear, return the chicken and stir through. Serve with rice.

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