Garlic & Chilli Braised Chicken

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Balance and Harmony

By Neil Perry

Published 2008

  • About

This simple classic braise sees the chicken deep-fried first to add colour and texture, then gently braised for tenderness as it makes its own sauce. You can use chicken thighs, boneless if you wish, but I much prefer to suck the chicken off the bone, as it has heaps more flavour that way and stays moist. Don’t use chicken breasts — they dry out too much.


  • 4 free-range or organic chicken legs, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • peanut oil, for deep-frying
  • 4 small dried chillies
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons sliced ginger
  • 2 cassia bark sticks
  • 2 tablespoons chilli bean paste
  • 750 ml (26 fl oz/3 cups) fresh chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons shaoxing
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • sea salt
  • 1 spring onion (scallion), finely sliced


    Heat a wok until smoking. Add 1.5 litres (52 fl oz/6 cups) peanut oil and, when hot, deep-fry the chicken pieces in batches until light golden brown. Drain the oil, strain and reserve for future use.

    Reheat the wok over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of peanut oil. Add the chillies and cook until they start to colour. Add the garlic, ginger and cassia and cook until fragrant. Add the chilli bean paste and continue to fry until well incorporated.

    Add the fried chicken, the stock, shaoxing, soy sauce and salt to taste. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, stirring from time to time. By the time the chicken has cooked, the sauce may not have reduced enough. If that is the case, remove the chicken, return the wok to high heat and reduce for a minute or two more until it has thickened. Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with spring onion.