Sometimes spelt Gong Bao, this is a spicy stir fried chicken dish with its origins in Sichuan province of south west China. The Sichuan peppercorns are a bit numbing but the combination of crunchy peanuts and juicy spring onions, complement the juicy chicken. I have adapted this recipe from Fuchsia Dunlop’s version in Every Grain of Rice.
400 grams chicken thigh fillets, cut into 1 cm cubes
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 thumb ginger, finely sliced
6 spring onions, white parts only chopped into one or one and a half cm pieces
12 dried chillies, cut into half and deseeded
1 teaspoon whole Sichuan pepper (please see cook’s notes below)
40ml vegetable oil
100 grams roasted peanuts
FOR THE MARINADE
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
2 teaspoons potato flour
FOR THE SAUCE
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon potato flour
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Place the chicken pieces in a bowl. Add the marinade ingredients together with a tablespoon of water, mix well and set aside for 30 -30 minutes.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
Heat a seasoned wok on high heat. Add the oil along with chillies and Sichuan pepper and fry until the chillies are darkening but not burning. Remove wok from heat if you find it is getting too hot.
Add the chicken and stir fry over a high heat, stirring constantly. As soon as the chicken cubes have separated, add the ginger, garlic and spring onions until the meat is cooked through.
Give the sauce a stir and add it to the wok, continuing to stir and toss. As soon as the sauce has become shiny and thick, add the peanuts, stir them and serve piping hot with rice.
I use a combination of dried chillies. Dried Chinese chillies, Thai long dried chillies and Kashmiri chillies.
With Sichuan pepper corns, you need to remove the dark seed in the middle. If you use with the seed, your dish will turn out gritty and inedible. You can buy with the seed removed from good Asian stores.