Spicy Chicken with Mint

The wok is ideal for making quick but tasty dishes. Here is a lovely, spicy chicken dish with fresh mint as a counterbalance. If you grow your own mint, it is likely to be even more delicate and subtle than the shop-bought variety. Mint is probably the most widely used of all the aromatic herbs and the one most readily accessible. A touch of curry is used with the chilli bean sauce to give this dish a real kick. The chicken is velveted to preserve its juiciness and flavour. You can use the traditional oil method or, for a less fattening version, substitute water instead. The peppers provide the dish with a crunchy texture that makes a wonderful complement to the soft, tender chicken. Serve this with plain steamed rice and a salad for a quick, delicious meal.

Ingredients

  • 450 g (1 lb) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 225 g (8 oz) red or green peppers
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) groundnut oil or water
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced garlic
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) Chicken Stock
  • 1½ tablespoons Madras curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons chilli bean sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour blended with 1 tablespoon water
  • 8 mint leaves

For the Marinade

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour

Method

Cut the chicken breasts into 2.5-cm (1-in) cubes. Combine them with the egg white, salt and 2 teaspoons of cornflour in a small bowl. Put the mixture into the fridge for 20 minutes.

Wash and seed the peppers and cut them into 2.5-cm (1-in) cubes.

Heat a wok or frying-pan over a high heat until it is hot, 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. When the chicken pieces turn white (about 2 minutes), quickly drain the chicken.

If you choose to use water instead of oil, bring the water to the boil in a pan. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the chicken pieces, stirring vigorously to keep them from sticking. When the chicken pieces turn white (about 2 minutes), quickly drain the chicken.

Wipe the wok or pan clean and re-heat until it is very hot. Then add 1 tablespoon of oil. When it is very hot, add the peppers and garlic and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients, except the cornflour mixture and mint leaves, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cornflour mixture and cook for 20 seconds, stirring, then add the drained chicken to the wok and stir-fry for another 2 minutes, coating the chicken thoroughly with the sauce. Finally add the mint leaves and stir to mix well for 1 minute. Turn on to a warm platter and serve at once.

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