This became a very popular dish in Chinese-American restaurants in the 1970s, when menus began to expand to include many more authentic and traditional examples of Chinese cuisine. It continues to be a great favourite.
It is a classic Sichuan dish that has gone through many mutations. From my research, its first appearance in the US was in New York, and subsequently it spread to menus throughout the country. Today there is hardly a Chinese restaurant in America that does not offer the dish. Unfortunately, many restaurants began to Americanize the dish into something I don’t think anyone from Sichuan, China, would recognize. Try this version, the closest recipe to the original.
Cut the chicken into 2.5 cm (
Heat a wok until it is hot and then add the oil. When the oil is very hot, remove the wok from the heat and immediately add the chicken pieces, stirring vigorously to keep them from sticking. As soon as the chicken pieces turn white, in about 2 minutes, quickly drain them in a stainless steel colander set in a bowl. Discard all but
Reheat the wok with the reserved oil. (If you used the water method, swirl in
If you choose to use water instead of oil, bring it to the boil in a saucepan. Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately add the chicken pieces, stirring vigorously to keep them from sticking. When the chicken pieces turn white, in about 2 minutes, quickly drain them in a stainless steel colander set in a bowl.
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.