Yield: serves 4
1 pound Boneless, skinless chicken thighs,
(sliced into 1-inch cubes)
1/2 cups Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups Peanut or vegetable oil for frying,
(plus 1 tbsp for stir-frying)
8 Dried whole red chillies,
(or substitute 1/4 tsp Dried red chili flakes)
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp White sesame seeds, for garnish
Scallions, green parts thinly sliced, for garnish
1 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 Egg whites
1/4 cup Chicken stock, or substitute water
1 1/2 tbsp Tomato paste
1 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Rice vinegar
1 tsp Hoisin sauce
1 tsp Chili paste
1 tsp Sesame oil
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Cornstarch
1. Prepare the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, and egg whites. Coat the chicken to the marinade mixture and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the chicken stock, tomato paste, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, chili paste, sesame oil, sugar, and the 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set the sauce aside.
3. In a large bowl or deep plate, toss the 1 1/2 cups cornstarch with the salt and pepper. Coat the marinated chicken in the cornstarch and shake off any excess before frying.
4. Heat the 3 cups of peanut or vegetable oil in your wok until it registers 350°F on an instant-read oil thermometer. Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the first batch of chicken cubes and fry until golden brown on the outside and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
5. Drain the oil into a heatproof container and save for discarding. Wipe the wok with a paper towel to remove any brown bits, but don’t wash.
6. Reheat the wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the base and sides. Add the dried chilis and garlic to the wok and stir-fry until just fragrant, about 20 seconds. Pour in the sauce mixture and stir until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.
7. Return the chicken to the wok and stir well to coat with sauce. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Garnish with white sesame seeds and scallions. Serve with white rice and vegetables.