I was delighted to find a recipe written in a Christmas card from our friend, Chris. Gongbao jiding – one of his favourite Chinese dishes, as it was taught to him in China. Inspired to try the authentic version, I cooked this yesterday and invited Chris for dinner to sample the result.
I’m quite fond of Gongbao jiding because it is one of the few things I remember in Mandarin. While Christopher and I were in Shanghai, we spent a week learning Mandarin. Our teacher taught us how to order some of the popular dishes; Gongbao jiding and Mapo tofu are two that stuck in my memory. I am pleased to say this particular recipe is the best tasting Gongbao jiding I’ve had. Big thanks to Chris for sharing the recipe.
2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2cm cubes
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon whole Sichuan peppercorns
handful of Sichuanese dried chillies
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
5 spring onions, sliced thickly
2 handfuls unsalted peanuts, roasted
for the marinade
2 teaspoons cornfour
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine (dry sherry)
pinch of salt
for the sauce
1 teaspoon cornflour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
a drop of sesame oil
1 tablespoon water
Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the cubed chicken. Cover and leave in the fridge for an hour or so.
Prepare the remaining ingredients before you start cooking as with any stir-fried dishes, it happens very fast. I like to roast my own peanuts under the grill or dry-roast in a wok. You can also use cashews.
Heat the wok on a high heat for a minute before adding the oil. Swirl the oil around to make sure it coast the sides as well as the bottom of the wok. Add the Sichuan peppercorns and dried chillies. Stir-fry briefly to release their flavour then remove from the oil and leave to one side.
Add the garlic and ginger, again stir-fry until fragrant but without catching colour. Pop the chicken including any marinade and toss the meat until just cooked. Let the meat catch a bit of colour but keep tossing to avoid sticking to the wok. Return the peppercorns and dried chillies. Add the spring onions (white part only), peanuts and the sauce (give it a quick stir first).
Continue to stir-fry, tossing the ingredients until the chicken is glossy from the sauce. Sprinkle with the green part of spring onions and serve immediately.
Cooking time: 15 mins