Do not be deceived by the name of this dish into thinking that we are using a certain part of the chicken’s anatomy: the balls are in fact chicken meat cut into small pieces so that when they are cooked, they will look like little round balls. This is an orthodox recipe from Canton, and is very simple.
½ lb (225 g) chicken meat
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cornflour mixed with a little cold water
1/4 lb (100 g) bamboo shoots
1 oz (25 g) Wooden Ears (black fungus)
2-3 spring onions, cut into short lengths
2 slices ginger root, peeled and cut into small bits
3-4 tbsp oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine or sherry
a few drops sesame seed oil
Cut the chicken meat into small slices, then mix them with a pince of salt, the egg white and the cornflour. Drain and slice the bamboo shoots. Soak the Wooden Ears in water (discard the hard bits at the root) and slice them too. First stir-fry the chicken in a little warm oil for about ½ minute, and scoop it out with a perforated spoon. Now heat up more oil until hot, add the spring onions and ginger root first to flavour the oil, then stir-fry the bamboo shoots and Wooden Ears for about ½ minute. Now add salt, sugar, soy sauce and wine together with about 2 tablespoons stock or water. Continue stirring, and when the sauce is bubbling, return the chicken to the pan, stir for a few times more, then add sesame seed oil. Blend everything well and serve immediately.
It makes my mouth water just to think about this dish!
© Deh-Ta Hsiung and reproduced with his kind permission.