Legendary Dishes | Táng Cù Jī Sī 糖醋鸡丝 (sweet and sour chicken shreds)

CHINA

The tradition of shredding aromatics, meats and vegetables for wok cooking is popular across the breadth of this diverse country.

Among these dishes is sweet and sour shredded chicken. This can be a simple affair of fried chicken in a sweet and sour tomato sauce or it can be an elaborate dish with various shredded vegetables and various aromatics and condiments such as chillies, chilli oil, chilli sauce, garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, hot bean sauce, onions, oyster sauce, pickled vegetables, mushroom soy sauce, mustard oil, pepper oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, shallots and sugar to produce the sweet and sour flavour.

This is an adaptation of the Sichuan version with chilli sauce, the preserved black beans of Yangjiang and stem ginger in syrup, which can be served with fried cabbage or fried spinach.

Chicken

  • 500 g chicken breast, skinned, thin sliced, shredded
  • 1 green / red bell pepper, sliced, shredded
  • 8 spring onions, sliced, shredded
  • 30 g stem ginger in syrup, sliced, shredded
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten (optional)
  • 30 g preserved black beans pounded into a paste with 2 teaspoons of water
  • 2 tbsp chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (optional)
  • 10 g cornflour
  • 2 tsp Sichuan pepper oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Oil, for frying

Cabbage

  • 1 small cabbage, sliced, shredded
  • 50 g root ginger, peeled, sliced, shredded
  • 1 tbsp Tianjin preserved cabbage
  • Oil, for frying

Spinach

  • 500 g spinach leaves, stems removed, rinsed, drained
  • Oil, for frying

Mix the cornflour, salt and wine, whisk in the egg white. Place the chicken strips in this mixture, leave for 20 minutes.

Alternatively dredge the chicken shreds in the cornflour.

Mix the black bean paste and chilli sauce, set aside.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a wok, stir fry the spinach or the ginger, cabbage and preserved cabbage over a high heat. When choice of vegetable wilts transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Add two tablespoons of oil to the wok, stir fry the red peppers and spring onion3 for 3 minutes, add the black bean-chilli mixture and stem ginger, stir and heat through. Reduce heat.

In a separate wok heat some oil and stir fry the chicken in batches until it is cooked.

Fold the fried chicken into the sauce, heat thorough for a few seconds.

Serve with the fried cabbage or fried spinach and a few drizzles of pepper oil.