This is my version of a popular Hong Kong dish that uses squab or young pigeon, which is expensive and not always as easily available as chicken.
A simple, savoury dish that goes well with the refreshing crunch of the lettuce and the fried beanthread (transparent) noodles, it is a fun dish to eat and makes a wonderful starter for any meal. Each guest puts a helping of each ingredient into a hollow lettuce leaf (rather like stuffing a pancake) and eats the filled leaf with his or her fingers.
The chicken can be cut by hand or pulsed in a food processor. Put the minced chicken into a bowl with the Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, soy sauce, sesame oil and cornflour, mix well and leave to marinate for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile cut the pepper into small dice. Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes, drain them and squeeze out any excess liquid. Trim off the stems and coarsely chop the caps. If you are using fresh water chestnuts, peel and coarsely chop them. If you are using tinned ones, rinse them in cold water and coarsely chop them. Separate and wash the lettuce leaves, wiping off any excess water, and set them aside.
In a large wok or deep-fat fryer, heat the
Re-heat the wok until it is very hot, then add
Wipe the wok or pan clean. Re-heat the wok or pan over a high heat and, when it is hot, add the
Stir-fry the mixture for 3 minutes and then return the chicken to the mixture and continue to stir-fry for 1 minute, mixing well. Turn on to a warm platter. Arrange the lettuce and noodles on separate platters, put the hoisin sauce into a small bowl, and serve at once.
© 1996 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.