So what’s this about Ginger chilli chicken?
This is essentially about chicken pieces that are thoroughly washed and marinated in Asian spices, where the chicken is dipped in a batter and then fried. It’s then served with an aromatic stir fry of diced onions, capsicum green chilis ginger, and garlic. This fragrant, sweet, and spicy, slightly sour crispy appetiser is an absolute winner, certainly with my kids! The twist on this one is that it’s heavy on the fresh chilli and ginger. So this one is for all you ginger lovers out there!
Where is Chilli chicken from?
Chilli chicken is widely referred to as a dish from ‘Chinese’ cuisine. It is factually incorrect because there is no dish in China by the name or mode of preparation. Just like the so-called other ‘Chinese’ dishes, chilli chicken is an Indian invention. That lends to the ‘Indo Chinese cuisine’ term, I think, to fairly capture both influences, in my opinion. This one just happens to be my take on the chilli chicken, a slight variation on a previous recipe that is available on the website if you don’t like fresh ginger. Chilli Chicken
Most chilli chicken recipes don’t have ginger, I like adding fresh grated ginger to my version as I feel it imparts a beautiful warming flavour in the chicken and certainly as a wonderful punch of zingy heat and freshness to the sauce. The fresh chilis are a must.
Ginger chilli chicken is versatile, yummy, and extremely easy to make. When you put a piece of the chicken in your mouth, the first flavour you will experience is a slight tang followed by a little sweetness, and then you feel the heat from the chilli and the lasting zing from the fresh ginger. The chicken is tender inside with a slight crispiness from the batter if served immediately.
This recipe is a semidry version that goes well with rice-based preparations like fried rice, boiled rice and even paratha or a wrap! I have indulged in serving this ginger chilli chicken in noodles!
Making it your own
You can obviously adjust the ingredients to suit your palate and flavours. This recipe is a guide to how I like my ginger chilli chicken but the key thing is to be adventurous and tweak it when you put the sauce in by adjusting the key elements, the sweet, sour, salt and heat to reach the balance that makes your heart leap.
The best chicken cut?
Ideally, this ginger chilli chicken is best with boneless chicken thighs cut into cubes or strips. But equally, it is absolutely fine to use chicken breast, although personally I sometimes feel that the chicken breast can be a little dry whereas the chicken thighs tend to remain juicier once cooked.
Dry or not?
Ginger chilli chicken is one dish that people usually crave as a starter or as a side dish during the meal. Most people tend to prefer a dry version, but it all boils down to personal preferences. Some, on the other hand, like to have quite a bit of sauce. As long as it’s cooked in a way to ensure that the fried pieces of chicken are well coated in the sauce, you simply can’t go wrong with whatever you opt for!
The first thing to do is make it!
6 chicken thighs cut into thin strips or bitesize pieces
1 cup Corn flour
2 tsp Oil
1 tbsp garlic minced
2 inch piece fresh ginger minced or grated
Oil for frying, vegetable, or neutral flavoured
1 red/green bell pepper cut into 1 inch chunks
2 red onions cut into inch chunks.
1 tbsp Light soy sauce
1 tsp garlic paste or finely grated garlic
1 tsp Sesame oil
2 tsp Sugar
½ tsp White pepper or black pepper
1 tsp chilli flakes
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp ginger paste
Chilli Sauce Mixture
3 tbsp Sriracha sauce or hot chilli sauce ( see details in note )
2 tbsp Tomato ketchup
1 tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice
2 tbsp honey or sugar
1 tsp Chilli flakes optional
3 fresh chillies cut thin slices or chopped
Handful fresh coriander 2 tsp white sesame seeds
2 Spring onions chopped
Place the chicken strips in a bowl and the ingredients for the chicken marinade for 10-15 minutes.
Mix all the chilli sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set it aside.
Next, add egg into the chicken and mix it well. Then add the corn starch and coat each chicken piece. ( Add more corn starch if needed. ) I tend to dust in corn flour and put it straight into the oil, but you can mix it all in.
Heat the oil and fry the coated chicken pieces and set aside for 4-5 minutes. Then fry it again for another 2-3 minutes until crispy and golden.
I tend to shallow fry now, but you can deep fry if you prefer.
Reduce the oil in the pan to about 2 tbsp and sauté the chopped garlic and ginger for a minute on low. Add the onion and red pepper chunks. Stir fry this for a few minutes until just cooking but crisp.
Then pour the chilli sauce mixture in and stir for a few seconds, just till it bubbles and starts to thicken. Place the fried chicken strips back in the pan.
Combine the sauce and chicken pieces well and then take it off heat.
Transfer to serving plate, sprinkle on fresh chilli slices, spring onions, fresh coriander, and sesame seeds and serve.
Sauté the onions till they turn translucent similarly do not overcook the capsicum it should have a bite.
While frying the chicken, ensure that the oil is hot when adding the marinated chicken pieces. To check, put in a small piece of cornflour so it sizzles on touching the oil.
Ensure that the chicken is thoroughly cooked fry the chicken on a medium heat.
Please note that soy sauce contains salt. Check for the salt when the sauce is nearing completion. If required, you can add the salt before adding the chicken.
Best time to check for the flavours in the sauce is before throwing in the fried chicken pieces.
The three ingredients that can rev up the heat level in this ginger chilli chicken – chilis, pepper, and fresh ginger.
You can use chicken breast if you prefer. I use either but do prefer chicken thigh as it does not dry out.
You can omit the red pepper and onions if you choose, but I like the crunch and flavour it adds.
Adjust the sauce ingredients to taste. I tend to go heavy on chilli sauce and less on honey. I always taste the sauce when it goes in the pan and adjust.
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