Hot chillis and diced chicken

Also known as ‘Kung Bo’ or ‘Gong Bao’ chicken, this is another famous Sichuan dish that has become popular throughout the world. It is reputed to have been one of Chairman Mao’s favourites, because he was a native of Hunan, a neighbouring province, also known for its hot, peppery food.

1/2 lb (225 g) chicken meat
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tsp cornflour blended with 1 tbsp cold water
2 oz (50 g) fresh chilli, or 4oz (100 g) green peppers with 1 tbsp chilli sauce
2 oz (50 g) cashew nuts (or walnuts, almonds, or peanuts)
3-4 tbsp oil
2 slices peeled ginger root, finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine or sherry
1 tbsp crushed yellow bean paste

If you cannot get fresh chillis, then use green peppers with a little chilli sauce; the general effect will be the same even though the flavour is slightly different.

After dicing the chicken into small cubes, mix them with salt, egg white and cornflour. Cut the chilli or green pepper into pieces the same size as the chicken cubes.

Stir-fry the chicken in a little warm oil for about ½ minute, then scoop out with a perforated spoon. Heat up more oil, stir-fry the finely chopped ginger root and spring onions together with chilli or green pepper and nuts, add sugar, soy sauce, wine and bean paste, then return the chicken to the pan. Stir constantly for about 1 minute, and serve as soon as everything is well blended.

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