Mati Jiding

Spicy Chicken with Fresh Water Chestnuts

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as palt of a Chinese meal, or 2 as a Single Dish.

Appears in

Famished one day while on a train trip from Hangzhou to Suzhou, I had to risk the dining car’s offerings. To my surprise, I savorer a dish of bits of chicken and water chestnuts in a spicy, very pleasing sauce. It is easy to make, as befits a dining car specialty, and I was delighted to acquire a new recipe from my train ride.


  • 225 g/8 oz boneless chicken breast, skinned
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 225 g/8 oz water chestnuts, fresh or canned
  • 125 ml/4 fl oz peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon chilli bean sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil


Cut the chicken into 12-mm/½-in dice. Combine it with the egg white, salt, and cornflour in a small bowl and put the mixture into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

If you are using fresh water chestnuts, peel them. If you are using canned water chestnuts, drain them well and rinse in cold water. Coarsely chop the water chestnuts.

Heat a wok or large frying pan until hot and add the oil. When it is moderately hot, add the diced chicken and stir well to keep it from sticking. When the chicken pieces turn white, about 2 minutes, quickly drain the chicken and all the oil into a stainless steel colander set in a bowl.

Clean the wok or pan and reheat. Return 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok, add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Then add the water chestnuts, chilli bean sauce, soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, sugar, and salt and continue to stir-fry for 1 minute. Return the chicken to the wok and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Add the sesame oil, give the mixture a final stir, and serve at once.