Gong Bao Chicken

Andrew Wong

Andrew Wong

7th April 2017

Gong Bao Chicken

From roasted chicken to stuffed chicken breast, chicken recipes are vast and varied. With a range of cooking methods and flavours to choose from, chicken recipes are a great way to exercise your chef skills. Why not give the following Gong Bao Chicken recipe a try? Named after a notable military figure, General Gong Bao, this dish is probably the most famous export of Sichuan Province. You see this dish in guises that vary massively between restaurants, but I am very proud of our particular version at A Wong, awarded three Rosettes from the AA Restaurant Guide, as it is the recipe given to me by the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine while I was in the province. This recipe will yield more stock than is required, but the remainder can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Ingredients

  • 300g boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 5ml Shaoxing rice wine, plus extra for deglazing
  • splash of light soy sauce
  • 5g cornflour mixed with 5ml cold water
  • 5g salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 30g spring onion, cut into 2cm sections
  • 30g celery, cut into 2cm section
  • 40g roasted peanuts
  • Air-dried chicken skin to garnish (optional)
  • For the gong bao stock:
  • drizzle of vegetable oil
  • 80g Sichuan peppercorns
  • 200g sugar
  • 200g dried chillies cut into 2 lengths widthways
  • 160g peeled fresh root ginger, sliced
  • 1 garlic bulb, bruised
  • 400ml water
  • 200ml Chinese red vinegar
  • 140ml light soy sauce
  • 100ml Shaoxing rice wine
  • For the peanut foam:
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 tablespoons store-bought satay sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon soy lecitin

Method

Mix the diced chicken with the wine, soy sauce, cornflour mixture and salt in a bowl, cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
For the gong bao stock:
Heat a drizzle of oil in a saucepan and toast the Sichuan peppercorns, then add the remaining stock ingredients. Simmer for 20 minutes and then set aside. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok, add the marinated chicken and stir-fry until just cooked through. Stir in the spring onion and celery. Deglaze the pan with a little Shaoxing rice wine, then add enough of the stock so that the chicken is covered in the pan. Boil mixture until the sauce is thick and has reduced enough to coat the chicken.
For the peanut foam:
Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan and heat gently. Do not bring the mixture to the boil as this will prohibit the foaming. When the peanut mixture is warm blend the surface of the mixture using a stick blender for about 20 seconds to produce a mass of cappuccino-style foam. Just before serving the chicken, throw in the peanuts, decorate the dish with the peanut foam and garnish with air-dried chicken skin, if you like.
Chef's tip:
The quantity of dried chillies specified in based on the Chinese variety, which are quite large and relatively mild. If you are using small dried chillies, halve this quantity; as a general rule, the smaller the chilli, the more lethal it will be.

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