sweet chilli chicken

Recently I watched a documentary about Taiwanese food, and realised that they love chicken and eat it more than any other meat. Almost all meals in Taiwan, apparently, contain chicken in one form or another. And since my cooking guru Ching-He Huang, whose recipes I use all the time, learned cooking from her Taiwanese grandmother, it explained how come we started to eat all this chicken!


It's not actually a lot of meat per meal, usually 2-4 chicken thighs or breasts every few days, but I have tried to be fish/veggie and now I'm afraid I can't do that.
Because all these recipes are just too tasty :D

This one I modified slightly to involve finishing off the cooking process in the oven, because I find wok-frying the pieces a bit hit and miss in terms of cooking the on the bone chicken all the way through (and you must never eat pink chicken) but otherwise it is the same recipe and it is really nice.

You can have it as a main, a starter or as a part of the feast. It goes really well with boiled jasmine rice and five spice tofu and coriander salad or egg fried rice and braised firm tofu with tomatoes  or simply as a party snack with some cold beers.

(serves 2-4)

either 2 large chicken thighs or 4 small ones, skinned and on the bone

for the batter
4 tbsp cornflour
2 egg whites
groundnut oil for deep frying
salt and pepper to taste

for the sauce
3 garlic cloves
3 cm root ginger finely sliced
1 medium red chilli
6 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
small handful of fresh chopped coriander


Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Use the Chinese meat clever because you must cut through the bone in one attempt, otherwise the bone will shatter and you won't be able to eat it safely.
Alternatively, ask the butcher to do it for you.

Mix the egg whites with corn flour, salt and pepper into a smooth batter.

Heat the oil in a small diameter saucepan, test if it's hot enough by placing a drop of batter. If it sizzles and browns in 15 seconds, it's hot enough.

Preheat the oven to 190 C

Dip each piece of chicken into the batter and immediately lower it into the hot oil. Fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side until golden on the outside. Drain on the kitchen paper and repeat until all the chicken is fried.

Place the pieces on the tray and bake it in the oven for another 12 - 15 minutes. This will ensure the chicken is cooked but not burned on the outside.

In the mean time, assemble the sauce: finely chop the garlic, ginger and chilli (deseeded if it's a very hot one).
Add 1 tbsp groundnut oil, let it heat up and then add the chilli, garlic and ginger. Stir fry for 30 seconds and add chilli sauce, soy sauce and lime juice. Mix well and take the chicken from the oven, put it in the sauce and stir to coat the chicken all over.
Sprinkle with coriander and serve immediately.

Bon appétit!

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