Sunday, 29 September 2013

Recipe: Tangerine-Peel Chicken

This recipe was originally based on one by Kenneth Lo, which he says was adapted from the Chengtu Dining Rooms, Chengtu.

Ingredients

4Chicken thighs (say 600g)
1 Medium onion, sliced
2 Slices root ginger, finely shredded
1t Salt
2t Light soy sauce
1T Rice wine
200ml Oil for semi-deep-frying
For the sauce:
1 Small red pepper (say 100g), finely shredded
1 Dried chilli, finely shredded
2T Dried tangerine peel, broken into small pieces
2T Oil for frying
1T Light soy sauce
3T Chicken stock
1t Sugar
1t Sichuan pepper, lightly crushed
(1T = one tablespoon = 15ml; 1t = one teaspoon = 5ml)

Method

Chop the chicken thighs through the bone into two or three pieces. Leave the skin on.

Combine the sliced onion, shredded root ginger, salt, soy sauce and rice wine in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces and rub this marinade into the chicken. Leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Prepare the sauce ingredients now: shred the red pepper and chilli (discard the seeds) and break the tangerine peel into small pieces.

Shake the chicken pieces free of the onion and ginger. Semi-deep-fry in two batches in a wok, using about 200ml oil. (Semi-deep-frying only really works in a wok, where you have a deep-enough pool of hot oil in the middle and you keep turning the chicken pieces and splashing over the hot oil.) Cook until the chicken pieces are quite brown. (This might be around 5 minutes. You want to get the internal temperature up to 70°C.) Put the chicken pieces to one side.

Pour out your hot oil into a suitable container. Clean the wok in the sink and dry it in the usual way. Now make the sauce: heat 2T of oil in the wok. When hot, add the red pepper, chilli and tangerine peel. Stir-fry for one and a half minutes over a medium heat. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together for one minute.

Return the chicken pieces to the pan and mix with the sauce. Mix and turn for two minutes over a medium heat.

Discussion

This recipe might in some ways be closer to the original than Kenneth Lo's version, since I've substituted Sichuan pepper and rice wine where he uses crushed peppercorns and sherry. On the other hand, my chicken pieces are larger — in his recipe they are "bite sized" and I'm sure that's more authentic.

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