• ¾ lb boneless chicken thighs
  • 8 small dried red chiles, (calls for 6-10 per 3/4 lb of chicken)
  • 2 cups cooking oil
  • 2 tsps finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tsps finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsps sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced scallion greens
  • Marinade
    • 2 tsps light soy sauce
    • ½ tsp dark soy sauce
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 2 tbsps potato starch
    • 2 tsps cooking oil
  • Sauce
    • 1 tbsp tomato puree
    • 1 tbsp water
    • ½ tsp potato starch
    • ½ tsp dark soy sauce
    • 1-½ tsps light soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 3 tbsps chicken stock, or water


1. Unfold the chicken thighs and lay them, skin side down, on a chopping board. (If some parts are very thick, lay your knife flat and slice them across in half, parallel to the board.) Use a sharp knife to make a few shallow criss-cross cuts into the meant; this will help the flavors to penetrate. Then cut each thigh into 1½-1¾ inch slices, an uneven ⅛ or so in thickness. Place the slices in a bowl.
2. For the marinade, add the soy sauces and egg yolk to the chicken and mix well. Then stir in the potato starch, and last the oil. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
3. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Use a pair of scissors to snip the chiles into ¾ inch sections, discarding the seeds as far as possible.
4. Heat a wok over a high flame. Pour in the deep-frying oil and heat to 350˚-400˚F. Add the chicken and fry until crisp and golden. (If you are deep-frying in a wok with a relatively small volume of oil, fry the chicken in a couple of batches.) Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour the oil into a heatproof container and clean the wok if necessary.
5. Return the wok to a high flame. Add 2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil and the chiles and stir-fry briefly until they are fragrant and just changing color (do not burn them). Toss in the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds more, until you can smell their aromas. Then add the sauce and stir as it thickens. Return the chicken to the wok and stir vigorously to coat the pieces in sauce. Stir in the sesame oil, then serve, with a scattering of scallion greens if desired.




Fuschia Dunlop


2 servings




Asian : East Asian : Hunan