With Chinese New Year coming up next week I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the year of the dog than with this delicious Salt and Pepper Chicken with an Oyster Sauce. I am a huge fan of Chinese food but in particular Cantonese style that produces some of the best spicy and hot dishes. Typically known as the Doctrine of Five Flavours, Chinese food is grouped into five key elements – spicy, sweet, sour, bitter and salty. From the heat and spice of sichaun pepper to the sweetness of honey or hoisin sauce to the sourness of limes and rice vinegar, followed by the bitterness of star anise and of course rounded off with the saltiness of soy sauce, it really is a wonderful and vast connection of many flavours and taste. It is no wonder that Chinese food is one of our most popular cuisines.
I have fond memories of going out for Chinese food when I was younger. Not your traditional or most authentic Chinese food mind, but the style we all love particularly in the UK. Crispy duck pancakes that we eat with our hands, carrots carved into little flowers and placed around the main dishes, generic ‘Chinese curry’ chicken dishes and bowls of special fried rice with peas and shrimps. Oh what I would give to go out to a Chinese restaurant back home right now while I am writing this post! Just the other week my husband and I went out with friends to Kantstrasse for a delicious Chinese meal. It is a street known for it’s authentic Chinese dishes and you know it is good when even the local Chinese community are also queuing up for a table! It is basically Berlin’s unofficial Chinatown, just without the big arches or huge gold statues and flashing lights that you find in Liverpool or London.
I like to think that my flavours have developed since I was younger but I also just can’t resist a classic Chicken Chow Mein, I am the first to tuck into those crispy Wontons, and someone please tell me where I can find Sesame Prawn Toast in Berlin!? And that is why this Salt and Pepper Chicken with an Oyster Sauce is a popular dish in my home. It’s that kind of classic Chinese comfort food we grew up with. Salt and Pepper Chicken is one of the most loved Chinese takeaway options and I also love it for that crispy yet spicy and hot batter. I am also a huge fan of Oyster sauce and love the sticky feel to it. It is beautiful topped on top of the chicken.
- 2 chicken breasts (diced)
- 70g breadcrumbs
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 3 tbsp plain white flour
- 1 tsp ground Chinese five spice
- ½ tsp sichuan peppercorns (crushed)
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- Black pepper
- Sunflower oil
- 3 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 small red chillies (finely sliced)
- 1 spring onion (finely sliced)
- 2 tbpsn Chinese rice wine vinegar
- Put the breadcrumbs, flour and egg in separate bowls. Add the five spice and peppercorns to the breadcrumbs. Take the chicken and coat first in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Make sure that all pieces are well coated. Season them with the sea salt and plenty of black pepper (just under a tbsp).
- Heat a large/ deep frying pan, or wok, with about 3 tbsp sunflower oil. Once hot add the chicken pieces. Cook for around 8-10 mins until the chicken is cooked through. Keep turning the pieces over regularly to get them evenly crispy and golden.
- In a small bowl add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, half of the chillies and half of the spring onions. Stir in the rice wine vinegar and mix well.
- Plate up the chicken and pour the sauce over the top. Scatter with the rest of the spring onions and chillies and a little fresh coriander.