Szechuan Diced Chicken and Red Chillis

There is a dish at Red Chilli in Little Hay St in Sydney that we have had a few times now, it features extravagant use of stir-fried dried chillis interspersed with small chunks of spiced and deep-fried chicken.

As we had a basket full of dried chillis from last years season, Andrea decided to try to re-create this dish. Here is her recipe:

500 gm chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2.5 cm pieces (or smaller)
3 cups veg oil 4 deep frying
2 cloves garlic
2.5 cm ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp rice vinegar
150 gms dried long red chillies, seeded and halved
50 gms dried small red chillies
1 tbsp sichuan peppercorns or 1 tsp ground sichuan pepper
2 green onions cut into 4 cm sections
Granulated sugar
Half tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
1 tbsp lights soy sauce
1tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp corn flour

1. Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl, add chicken and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, mix well and leave to marinate for 20-30 mins

2. Heat oil in wok, add chicken in batches and deep fry 4-5 mins or until crisp and golden brown. Remove using slotted spoon and drain well on absorbent paper. Pour off oil and reserve . Wipe wok dry. (We used a deep fryer instead, and then deep fried whole green beans for a side dish)

3. Place 1/4 cup reserved oil in wok.
Add garlic and ginger and stir fry over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant and just brown. Add vinegar, chillies and sichuan peppercorns, stirring continuously - be careful not to burn chillies . Add chicken, green onion and a pinch of the sugar to wok and stir fry for another minute or until chicken pieces are coated with oil, then add sesame oil, serve immediately.

You can eat as many or as few of the chillis as you like, they are there mainly for flavour and decoration, not to eat. Best served with other dishes to make a chinese banquet.

As a side dish I deep-fried some whole green beans (you can use snake beans) and then quickly stir-fried them in a mix of soy, rice wine, sesame oil, white vinegar, garlic, sugar, and fresh ginger.

We drank Shadowfax One Eye Heathcote Shiraz with this dish, a nicely spicy, minerally, juicy style that isn't over-oaked, a very nice wine, but stretching it a bit at the $50-$60 price point.