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June 2012
Cold Chicken with Spicy Sichuanese Sauce (Liang ban ji)
Fuchsia Dunlop

Cold Chicken with Spicy Sichuanese Sauce (Liang ban ji)
This is one of the most marvellous of all Sichuanese culinary ideas. It’s a salad dressed with seasonings that generally include soy sauce and chilli oil, with sugar, sesame oil, vinegar, crushed garlic and ground roasted Sichuan pepper added according to taste or mood. It’s very easy to make and stunningly delicious, as I hope you’ll agree.
   Ever 
since I first lived in Sichuan, this kind of dish has been part of my everyday kitchen repertoire. I’ve often served a spicy chicken salad alongside other dishes that are more ambitious or complicated to make, and yet this tends to be the one that everyone raves about the most. 
    I don’t actually use a recipe for this, any more than I would use a recipe to mix up a vinaigrette, so it’s different every time I make it. The following version and its variation, which I’ve measured, are lip-smackingly wonderful, but do please think of them as templates rather than immutable instructions, and improvise as you will.
    You 
might want to add more chilli oil in winter, or more refreshing vinegar when the weather is hot and sultry, while a spritz of crushed garlic can be quite enlivening. You can also serve the dressed chicken on a bed of sliced cucumber, or toss some salad leaves, perhaps rocket or watercress, into the mix. 
    In China, they normally poach a whole chicken, then chop it up bones and all, but you can equally well use boneless meat. And don’t forget that this is also a marvellous way of using up leftover roast chicken or turkey: the meat won’t be quite as moist and fresh-tasting as that of a poached bird, but

it’s still delicious (and you can add extra chicken stock to the

sauce to moisten, if necessary). 

Serves 3-4 with other dishes

300–350g cold cooked 
chicken, without bones

(see overleaf for poaching instructions)

3 spring onions

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

 

For the sauce

2 tbsp light soy sauce

11/2 tsp Chinkiang vinegar

11/2 tsp caster sugar

1 tbsp chicken stock

3–4 tbsp chilli oil with 1/2 tbsp of its sediment (or more, if you wish)

1/4–1/2 tsp ground, roasted

Sichuan pepper, to taste

1 tsp sesame oil

 

Variation (another sauce for cold chicken)

2 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tsp finely chopped or crushed garlic

2 tbsp chicken stock

3 tbsp chilli oil (with or without its sediment)

1/2 tsp ground, roasted Sichuan pepper

1/2 tsp sesame oil

Cut or tear the chicken as evenly as possible into bite-sized strips or slivers and place them in a deep bowl.

Cut the spring onions at a 
steep angle into thin slices. Mix them and the salt with the chicken. 

If using sesame seeds, toast them gently in a dry wok or frying pan 
for a few minutes, until they are fragrant and starting to turn golden, then tip out into a small dish. 

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. 
When you are ready to eat, pour the sauce over the chicken, and mix well with chopsticks or salad servers. Arrange on a serving dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.


© Fuchsia Dunlop 2012 
From Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking,
by Fuchsia Dunlop, Bloomsbury Publishing plc


Photograph by Chris Terry

 

 

Author: Fuchsia Dunlop Email: fuchsiad@hotmail.com


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