I had a successful dinner party a couple of nights ago and wanted to share a recipe I've created. The style of cooking is related to the Sichuanese stir fried chili and chicken cubes ( 辣子鸡丁), but with a distinctive Indonesian feel. Stir-fried dishes are really about timing, so pay attention to proper heat and cutting before you start cooking. This is not an exact science, so play with the recipe a bit.
Stir fried chicken cubes in peanut sambal
* four chicken legs with attached thigh
* 1/2 oil for frying
* About 4 heaping tablespoons of peanut sambal paste (try for a Thai or Indonesian brand at an Asian grocery. Dry cakes are best. Should contain such ingredients as lime leaves, chili, shallot, palm sugar)
* teaspoon salt
* pinch of MSG (optional, but don't knock it! It's magic with fried food)
* 3/4 cup unsalted peanuts
* Two fistfuls asian shallot
* 1" piece of ginger, diced
* bit of green onion, green part, sliced in long pieces
* 2 fresh Thai red chilis, split lengthwise
Using a sharp cleaver, break the chicken legs and thighs into bite sized pieces. Most pieces will have a small bit of bone and meat attached: this is correct. Discard any bits of bone or skin that has come loose. Do not add salt at this point, as it will dry out the meat.
Heat oil in a wok on high heat. Once oil is hot, add chicken in 4-6 small batches with a large slotted spoon. Chicken should cause the oil to "flare up" on contact. Stir and fry until mostly cooked through, around 2-3 minutes per batch and set aside. Continue until all chicken is cooked. Remove oil from heat but keep in wok because you will refry soon.
Mix salt, msg and sambal paste in small bowl and set aside. Peel and slice shallots, ginger and chili.
Once chicken has sat for at least five minutes, reheat the oil on high heat. Refry all piece in small batches again. The chicken fat from the previous frying that is in the wok will make the chicken pieces crispy. Remove when chicken is cooked golden brown and yummy. Next, fry peanuts until cooked and set aside. Remove and reserve oil.
Make sure all your cutting is done. Heat one tablespoon of reserved oil on high heat in wok. Stir fry shallots very quickly until they start to brown. Add sambal mixture and cook in the oil. Next, add ginger then splash in a 1/4 cup water to hot wok to prevent sticking and to bring up the flavors. Then, add chicken and mix well with sauce, careful not to allow mixture to stick to bottom. Add a tiny bit more water if needed. Lastly, add peanuts and heat them up with the whole mixure. Once water evaporates and sambal thickens, remove from heat and turn over on large serving tray. Top with chopped green onions and lengthwise sliced chili. Serve with rice and salad.
* do not substitute chicken breasts in this recipe, unless you enjoy bone dry little morsels!* Strain out reserved chicken fat using a thin mesh strainer and save in fridge. This is delicious when making stirfry and beats plain oil any day.