Recipe video above. That perfect combination of sweet, savoury, spicy and tangy with crispy Chinese chicken bites. This is a Chinese takeout favourite that pushes all the right buttons!
- ▢3 tbsp soy sauce – light or all-purpose (NOT dark soy, Note 1)
- ▢1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- ▢1 tbsp rice vinegar (sub white wine vinegar)
- ▢2 tsp chilli paste , any (Sambal Oelak is great)
- ▢1 tsp sesame oil toasted preferably (Note 6)
- ▢3 tbsp brown sugar
- ▢1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
- ▢3/4 cup chicken stock/broth , low sodium
- ▢600g/ 1.4 lb chicken thighs , boneless skinless, cut into 2.5cm / 1″ pieces (breast / tenderloin – Note 2)
- ▢1 tsp ginger , finely grated
- ▢1 tsp garlic ,finely grated
- ▢1 cup cornflour/cornstarch (Note 5)
- ▢1 – 4 cups oil, for frying (peanut, vegetable or canola; Note 4)
STIR FRY SAUCE:
- ▢2 tbsp oil (peanut, vegetable or canola)
- ▢2 tsp ginger , finely chopped (Note 3)
- ▢2 cloves garlic , finely chopped (Note 3)
- ▢1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes (red pepper flakes)
GARNISHES (AT LEAST 1 RECOMMENDED):
- ▢Finely sliced green onion
- ▢Sesame seeds
- Sauce-Marinade: Mix the soy, hoisin, vinegar, chilli and sesame oil.
- Marinate Chicken: Take out 2 tablespoons of Sauce-Marinade and mix with chicken. Add ginger and garlic to chicken, mix, then marinate 30 minutes.
- Dust chicken: Add cornflour into chicken and toss to coat, ensuring pieces are separated so they get fully coated.
- Shake off excess: Tip into a colander and shake to remove excess cornflour (or grab handfuls, shake so cornflour falls through your fingers).
- Finish Sauce: To the remaining Sauce-Marinade (that you made in Step 1), add sugar and cornflour. Mix, then add chicken stock and mix.
- Heat oil: Heat 2 cm / 4/5″ oil in a deep skillet (or large pot – whatever you’re comfortable with) to 200°C/390°F. To use less, see Note 4.
- Fry: Cook chicken 3 minutes, turning halfway, until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towel lined plate.
- New / clean skillet: Discard oil, wipe skillet and return to heat. Or use another large skillet.
- Stir Fry Sauce: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, chilli flakes, saute 30 seconds until garlic is light golden. Add Sauce, bring to simmer and stir occasionally until it thickens enough that you can draw a path across pan base.
- Toss! Add chicken, toss to coat quickly – the quicker you are, the crispier the chicken stays! Transfer to serving plate, garnish and serve immediately with your rice of choice.
1. Soy sauce – all-purpose or light soy is required here. Either is fine, just don’t use dark soy sauce (labelled as such) – it will overwhelm the flavour and make the sauce too dark. More on different soy sauces here.2. Chicken – thigh is best because you can be assured that it will stay juicy inside. Breast is very prone to overcooking and drying out, and especially fraught when deep frying because most people aren’t that experienced with deep or semi-deep frying.BREAST & Tenderloin – If you really want to use breast, then tenderise the meat a bit to give yourself a bit of legroom to overcook without it drying out. Add 1/4 tsp baking soda (bi-carb) with the marinade sauce and marinate for 1 hour or even overnight. This is a dialled back method of Tenderising Chicken the Chinese Restaurant Way (using less bicarb and marinating for longer so you don’t need to rinse it off).3. Garlic and ginger – use a Microplane or other fine grater for the chicken marinade. For stir-frying, you must finely chop with a knife. If you use a garlic press or Microplane grater, the garlic and ginger get too wet and paste-like, so it burns in a flash when stirring fried.4. Amount of oil to use – it’s best to use enough oil so it comes at least halfway up the side of the chicken (from the base of the pan) so you only need to turn it once to get nice crispy chicken (ie. shallow frying). You could also use more oil – enough so the chicken is bobbing in the oil – which will give a more even crispy coating all around (ie. deep frying). Using minimal oil – If you don’t want to fry and want to use as little oil as possible, then just cover the base of the pan with a slick of oil over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for 3 – 4 minutes in total, turning to crisp up as many sides of the chicken as you can (this is tedious, which is why I shallow fry!)5. Cornflour for coating – I know 1 cup sounds like a lot for 600g/1.2 lb of chicken. I err on the side of generous here to ensure there is enough to properly coat the chicken all over using the mixing then shaking off method. You lose a fair amount due to the cornflour clumping from the chicken juices/marinade. You could probably get away with 3/4 cup if you toss really well and quickly. Or, if you dipped each piece of chicken into cornflour one by one then shook off the excess, you could get away with 1/2 cup. 6. Sesame oil – toasted sesame oil is brown and has more flavour than untoasted (which is yellow). Default sesame oil sold in Australia is toasted, untoasted is harder to find.7. Storage and reheating – Will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Can be reheated (add a little water if the sauce is too thick), however, the chicken will not be crispy. That said, everybody who’s reheated their leftovers still loved it! 9. Nutrition per serving, excluding rice, and assuming all sauce is consumed.
Calories: 465cal (23%)Carbohydrates: 22g (7%)Protein: 32g (64%)Fat: 28g (43%)Saturated Fat: 14g (88%)Cholesterol: 143mg (48%)Sodium: 974mg (42%)Potassium: 446mg (13%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 10g (11%)Vitamin A: 110IU (2%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 26mg (3%)Iron: 2mg (11%)