Diced chicken and lychees

This recipe is traditionally given to a young person on reaching puberty as an extra boost to his or her reproductive system. It has a strange taste as I remember it, but then the Chinese believe all good medicine should taste nasty, so you might decide to risk it. Anyway, it’s here for your curiosity!

1/2 lb chicken meat
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cornflour
2 slices ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
10 oz (280 g) lychees
3-4 tbsp oil
2 tbsp rice wine or sherry
salt and pepper to taste

Logically enough, you are only supposed to use the meat of a young cock – capon is definitely out. Dice it and mix with a pince of salt and a little cornflour. Finely chop the ginger root, spring onion and garlic. Now for the lychees. Strictly speaking you should use fresh longans or ‘dragons’ eyes’, a smaller variety of lychees. Their flesh is firmer and therefore tastier, but unfortunately they are rather hard to come by, even canned ones, and lychees are adequate substitutes. If you can get fresh ones in season so much the better. Just peel off the shells and extract the stones. Canned lychees are very easy to obtain; you should drain off the syrup and rinse them in cold water before using them.

First stir-fry the diced chicken in a little warm oil until done – but don’t overcook. Then heat up more oil, add the ginger root, spring onion and garlic. Stir for a few seconds, then add the cooked chicken and lychees together with salt, wine, and cornflour mixed with a little water. Blend them well, adjust seasonings, and serve as soon as the liquid starts to thicken.

Well, good breeding!

© Deh-Ta Hsiung and reproduced with his kind permission.