Gong Bao Chicken

This recipe is loosely based on this one at Food52.com but has been altered quite a bit.

Chicken Marinade:

  • 5 chicken thighs, boned and skinned
  • 1 T beaten egg
  • 1/4 C corn starch
  • pinch salt
  • 2 t rice wine (chinese cooking wine OR sake will work here)
  • 2 t Japanese white rice vinegar
  • 2 t grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced

Remove as much visible skin and fat from the thighs as possible and cut into 1″ cubes. This is much easier if the thighs are slightly frozen. Put into a large bowl and add all the marinade ingredients and let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, or do early in the day and place in the fridge until ready to fry.

  • 1/2 C unsalted, roasted peanuts
  • 12 scallions, chopped into 1-inch pieces, dark green separated from white/light green parts
  • 2-3 sweet bell peppers, red, orange and/or yellow, diced into 1″ inch squares
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 t grated ginger
  • 8-12 dried red chiles, crushed with your hand
  • 4 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns, semi-coarsely ground
Sauce:

Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.

Fry the chicken in 3-4 batches in the bottom of a very hot wok (425°F+) until light brown and crispy in about 1/4 C peanut or canola oil. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Clean out wok and bring back up to a high temperature.  In a couple T of high-temperature, neutral oil (peanut, safflower, canola), very quickly sauté the bell peppers, peanuts, white parts of the scallions, garlic, ginger, half the Sichuan peppercorns and chilli peppers until the bell peppers are seared but still very crunchy. Add back in the chicken to reheat and then add in the sauce, adding water/stock/rice wine as needed to keep the sauce from getting too thick. Add in the green parts of the scallions and remaining Sichuan peppercorns just before serving. Serve with steamed rice and garlic sautéed green beans or pea pods. Serves 5-6

Fried Chicken

Buttermilk, seasoned with pepper, salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika to taste

3 eggs
1/3 C milk

2 C self-rising flour
1 t fresh ground black pepper
1 t salt
1 t garlic powder
3/4 t smoked paprika

1 (2.5 lb) chicken cut into pieces

The day before, marinate the chicken pieces in buttermilk that is well seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and smoked paprika

Beat eggs with milk in small bowl, in a shallow breading pan, season flour with spices. Remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk marinade and let as much of the marinade drip off as possible. Dip chicken pieces in egg mixture and then coat well with flour mixture. Carefully add to your hot oil/shortening and fry until brown and crisp, but not burnt. Dark meats takes longer (12-13 min) compared to 8-10 for white meat.

When you’re frying the chicken, please use a large cast iron skillet – it retains the heat quite well and therefore provides a more even temperature for frying, which means less burnt or underdone chicken. The self-rising flour gives it a crispier texture. Smoked paprika might be hard to find, but most supermarkets will have it in the section of the more expensive spices. The main secretness is the marinating the chicken in the buttermilk the day before. It makes the chicken all moist and full of flavour completely apart from the deliciously spicy, crunchy, crusty coating.