- 1 large egg white, beaten
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 cup white rice flour
- 2 cups canola oil
- 1 1/2 ounces Chinese dried red chiles
- 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 8 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup lightly packed basil leaves
How to make this recipe
In a medium bowl, combine the egg white, cornstarch, soy sauce, wine, sesame oil and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and transfer to a large bowl. Add the rice flour and toss to coat, separating the pieces of chicken as necessary. Transfer the chicken to a colander and shake well to remove any excess rice flour.
In a wok, heat the canola oil to 300°. Add the chiles and fry until bright red and plump, about 15 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chiles to another large bowl.
Heat the oil to 350°. Add half of the chicken and fry over high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, crisp and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to the bowl with the chiles. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the wok. Add the Sichuan peppercorns, ginger and garlic and stir-fry over moderate heat until softened but not browned, about 30 seconds. Add the scallions and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add the chicken, chiles, sugar and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt and stir-fry until hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the basil until wilted, then transfer the chicken and chiles to a bowl and serve right away.
WINE: Fresh, lightly sweet German Riesling