I love to call this Oh-So-Crispy chicken. It really is! This is somewhat messy to make but oh-so-worth-it. Serve it with jasmine rice and you’re ready to go. I tried this recipe, with variations, from the sweet Ching-He Huang’s Chinese Food Made Easy and it has become one of my favourites. I think if I had to plot out some kind of best-of chart, this would easily be in my top 5. What I like most about it is that you don’t need to go out of your way to get special ingredients you will use only a couple of times. Come to think of it, perhaps this is the reason I tried it in the first place. I always have soy sauce and toasted sesame oil in my pantry, and instead of groundnut oil (which I happen to have) you can easily use vegetable oil. Cornflour is always a staple anyway to thicken sauces.This recipe serves 4 to 6 people but you can scale it up or down as you wish. You need to marinade the chicken first so give yourself a little bit of preparation time for this. Apart from that, it’s all pretty manageable. You will need:
- 700g chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, chopped into large bite-sized pieces
- 14 tablespoons cornflour (This is best as it is tasteless. Avoid plain flour.)
- Groundnut oil
- ground pepper
- Jasmine rice, to serve (cooking method: absorption, infused with one star anise in the water)
For the marinade you will need:
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes
- Cook the rice. Remember to put the star anise in the water. (And keep it for presentation later.)
- Place the chicken in a bowl or glass dish and put all the marinade ingredients all over the meat. Mix well (I use my hands and then wash them). Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight. But if you don’t have that much time, 4 hours give or take will also work well.
- When you are ready to serve, prepare another clean bowl with the cornflour. Remove the chicken from it’s marinade and place it in the flour. Coat evenly and flick gently to remove any access flour.
- Heat a wok or a pan. When it’s really hot (and not before) pour in a good glug of oil in the pan and slowly drop in a small piece of bread. If this turns golden brown then you are ready to fry the chicken, until it turns golden brown on the outside. The meat will need around 8 to 10 minutes to cook. Remember that chicken has to cook really well.
- Cook the chicken in batches not all at once. This will keep the oil at a constant temperature to create the crispness of the meat. It will take a bit of time but that’s the way to do it. You wouldn’t want all this to go to waste after all the work!
Serve with the jasmine rice and a simple green salad as a side. Enjoy!