I’m a bit obsessed with crispy things. Some of my old uni mates have a video of me raging round their kitchen ranting about crispy bacon as the antidote to all excesses, I think my words were ‘crispy, crispy bacon’ repeated over and over in a slightly dramatic but slurred fashion.
Crispy duck, crispy chips, crispy skin, crispy, crunchy, FRIED! It makes you hungry doesn’t it?
This is a dish I’ve wanted to do for some time but I can’t deal with deep frying in my flat, it’s too smelly and too risky with a toddler running around. Incidentally, I’m very good at persuading others to invest in a good old deep fat fryer though. On my last trip to see my parents, after years of my dad wanting one and my mum saying no way, Daddio and I went on a little shopping trip and what popped into his basket? But of course, a fryer, whoot whoot! Twice fried chips and onion rings a plenty when I visit. My plan worked!
Anyway, I’ve found an alternative to the traditional deep fry and corn flour batter option. It’s so fantastic I had it twice this week. You can find fine cornmeal in the supermarket usually in the Caribbean section, look for Island Sun.
2 chicken thigh fillets, boned
1 carrot, cut into fine strips
4 spring onions, shredded
A thumb sized piece of ginger, cut into fine strips
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 a long red chilli, finely chopped
A heaped dessertspoon of fine cornmeal
A level teaspoon of five spice powder
3/4 tablespoons of vegetable or sunflower oil
For the sauce:
2/3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 heaped teaspoon of ketchup
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1 teaspoon of corn flour or arrowroot
A splash of soy sauce
Prepare all the vegetables and set to one side.
Slice the chicken into fine shreds, about half a cm wide.
Mix the cornmeal with five spice and a pinch of salt.
Toss the chicken shreds in the cornmeal mix until lightly coated.
Heat wok or frying pan and add oil.
Fry the chicken on high until golden brown and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper and set to one side.
Fry the garlic and ginger for a minute then add the rest of the vegetables and chilli with a splash of soy sauce and stir fry for a minute or two.
Put the veg to one side and add the vinegar, water, ketchup, soy and sugar to the pan.
Bubble up the sweet and sour sauce and mix the corn flour or arrowroot with a little more water and add to sauce. Let it thicken and taste, adjust the vinegar/sugar ratio if necessary.
Return the veg and chicken to the pan with the sauce and heat through.
Serve with boiled rice and a few prawn crackers, and rip up that take away menu! (or at least hide it until Friday)