Balance of flavours – this is key to preparing delicious food. But I find this challenge slightly more daunting when I cook Chinese food. Juxtaposition of so many flavours in a single dish – sweet, sour, salty….endless!
If you are a newbie to Chinese cooking, then it is always better to start off with simple dishes where you have more control over the flavours and ingredients. The list of sauces used in Chinese cooking can get a little overwhelming if you are a beginner. This simple chicken stir-fry is a classic and is inspired by a similar recipe by Les Huynh (a self-taught chef specializing in Asian cuisine) from his best selling cookbook ‘Blue Ginger’.
This stir-fry appeals to our Indian palate too because of the familiar tastes that we have grown to love – tangy and spicy. A perfect addition to noodles, fried rice or simply as a starter.
1. Chicken breast fillet – 350 gm, finely sliced or cut into thin strips
2. Garlic – 3-4 cloves, crushed
3. Long red chillies – 3-4, chopped
4. Chilli flakes – 1 tsp
5. Dark soy sauce – 2 tbsp
6. Sugar – 1 tbsp
7. Basil leaves – a handful
8. Salt – to taste
9. Vegetable oil – 2-3 tbsp
10. Spring onion – for garnish
• Pound garlic and chillies into a rough paste using a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
• Heat oil in a large pan/wok. Add the chilli-garlic paste and fry on medium heat constantly stirring for 1-2 minutes.
• Add the chicken pieces and then add soy sauce, chilli flakes, sugar and salt. Cook on high heat for 1-2 minutes till the chicken pieces have cooked.
• Toss in the basil and cook for 10 seconds.
• Remove from heat and garnish with chopped spring onion.
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