Pic: Channel 5
Everyone has their signature dish, a meal that they treat their friends and family with on the big occasions. I’ve never fallen for classics like a Sunday roast or meet dishes but I do love Asian cuisine and have been always fascinating with the flavours from that part of the world. Once watching a Channel 5 programme called Chinese in minutes, I’ve fallen in love with a fried sweet chilli chicken dish. At first it looked dead easy to make and the girl indeed cooked it in 10 minutes.
I thought to myself, this is it, tasty Asian meal in just 10 minutes! I’ve decided to make my wok in a good use and bought all the exotic ingredients and realised that actually the dish will take more than an hour to make. 10 minutes takes to make a sauce in the end when all the ingredients are chopped and chicken has been previously fried. Chopping is fairly easy but deep frying pieces of chicken, especially if you want to make a dinner for 6 people takes forever and you end up being closed in a hell hot kitchen for more than an hour! But don’t get discourage there as all that hard work is so worth it in the end and make everyone compliment your cooking skills.
Here is a recipe for my signature dish Fried Sweet Chilli Chicken, which I keep making every couple of months regardless of the time I need to spend on as it is really delicious. )The recipe below is for 4 people).
1 kg of chicken breasts (can also be thighs & drumsticks skinned and halved on the bone)
two glasses of cornflour (you can add more if needed, depends of amount of chicken you have)
4 egg whites
groundnut oil for deep-frying
salt & ground white pepper
For the sauce
1-2 garlic bulbs, finely chopped (depends on how much you like the garlic, I always add loads)
4cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
2 medium red chilli, deceeded
600 ml of sweet chilli sauce (this time I added two small bottles plus 1/4 of the big bottle I have left over from last time)
4 tablespoon light soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 small handful of freshly chopped coriander
Season the chicken breast pieces with salt and white pepper.
Combine the cornflour and egg whites to make a batter.
Place all the chicken pieces in the batter as it saves you time to dunk it one a time later.
Heat a wok over a high heat and fill it to one-third of its depth with groundnut oil. When the oil is heated well dip the previously covered in batter chicken pieces in the oil. Deep fry the chicken for about 5 minutes until crispy and golden.
Lift the chicken out of the oil using some kind of spider spoon (I got mine from Chinese shop) or tongs. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper.
After all the chicken is deep fried, pour the oil from the wok through a sieve into the heatproof container. I usually tend to clean the wok after deep frying before putting it back on the hob to make a sauce. That is because sometimes the chicken get burnt to the bottom of the wok as I don’t use a proper spider for deep frying.
To make the sauce, wipe out the wok and heat over a high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of drained oil and, when it starts to smoke, add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir fry for a few seconds.
Then, add the chilli sauce, soy sauce and lime juice. Mix well.
Return the chicken to the wok and turn the coat in the hot sauce, then stir the coriander and serve immediately (I tend to add coriander after the chicken is on the plate, look better, but ironically this time I forgot about the coriander because I was so hungry!)
Enjoy the chicken with some fresh vegetables & white or brown rice; beans work very well with this dish.