Sunday, March 8, 2015

Chilli Chicken

Indian Chinese is always a favorite with the family. It's spicy, flavorful, going in the opposite direction of  its inspiration, traditional Chinese. Native to the Indian subcontinent, this cuisine absorbs and blends, resulting in a cross breed unlike any other. It has spoilt me for the American corner shop Chinese. Give me Schezhwan or Hunan Chinese to make my taste buds sing. 

It's chilli chicken tonight. As always, this cuisine involves a lot of prep. I mince garlic and ginger. Slice an insane amount of chilies. Small pieces of boneless chicken benefit from a marinade. Seasonings get thrown into a hot wok, filling my senses with memories of family meals at Chinese Room, Flora, Chopsticks and China Garden. Sadly, none of these Bombay restaurants exist anymore. Now the fusion of Indian and Chinese exists in some form all over India, from roadside cafes to myriads of restaurants. Menus feature Moghlai, South Indian and Indo-Chinese creations, all emerging from one kitchen!! 

What irks me about stir frying is that you have to make it just before you eat!! A problem when the meal has several components! I make sweet corn soup. Some cauliflower Manchurian and chicken. Soup is slurped while I finish the rest. 

Serves 4

1 pound skinless boneless Chicken Thighs
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon Soy Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Chile Powder
1 tablespoon Flour
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
3-4 tablespoons Canola Oil
6 cloves Garlic
4-6 1 inch slices Ginger
1 Onion
1 Red Pepper
6 Green Chiles
1 cup Chicken Stock
2 teaspoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese Black Vinegar
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
1 tablespoon Water
3 Green Onions

Wash, trim and cut chicken into 1 inch pieces.

Add egg, soy sauce, chile powder, flour, cornstarch and black pepper to chicken. Mix well and keep aside for 1 hour.

Sliver garlic cloves vertically.

Peel and cut onion into broad slices.

Cut red pepper into small pieces.

Slice chiles on a bias into chunks.

Slice green onions on a bias into 1 inch pieces.

Mix chicken stock, soy sauce and vinegar.

Make a slurry of corn starch and water.

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a nonstick saucepan.

Shallow fry chicken pieces till brown and crusty on one side, then flip and do the same on the other side. You might have to do the frying in two batches. Drain and keep fried chicken aside.

Heat remaining oil in a wok till it shimmers.

Add onion and peppers and stir fry for a few minutes.

Drop in garlic, ginger slices and sliced chiles. Saute.

Pour stock mixture and let it come to a boil.

Drizzle the cornstarch slurry slowly stirring all the time so it doesn't lump up.

Let the sauce boil for a minute and then add fried chicken.

Drop green onions into sauce, stir and serve chicken.

Dinner gets done in a flurry of woks and saucepans. Chopsticks clickety clack as we pick our way through the meal. I do not envy the one who is to wash up as there are mounds of pans and woks. No complaints though, just happy eaters!!