Nyonya chicken with rice and vegetables

Nyonya or Nonya is the Malay name for Chinese people who have lived in the Malacca Straits region of Malaysia for centuries.

Their cuisine is spicy, no doubt influenced by the cuisines of the Malays and Indians.

This chicken dish is definitely hot.

First you marinate cubed boneless chicken in sugar, salt, pepper and dark soy for about an hour.

Then you soak some dried red chillies in hot water until they soften up.

You will also need some yellow bean paste, sesame oil, chopped spring onions, 5 or six crushed cloves of garlic and a chopped piece of ginger about the size of a fat thumb.

To cook the dish you first fry the chillies in hot oil and put them on one side while you fry the garlic and ginger in the same oil. Then you add the chicken and yellow bean paste and fry for a few minutes before adding a splash of water and covering the pan until the chicken is cooked.

Finally add the sesame oil and chopped spring onions and return the red chillies to the pan and cook this for a minute or two uncovered, so that the sauce thickens up and is reduced to almost nothing.

I served this with some egg-fried rice and mixed vegetables stir-fried with oyster sauce, garnished with chopped green coriander.

It is a hot and spicy dish but it still works with wine, full-flavoured whites are often suggested as the best partner for oriental dishes but red wines work well too, so long as they are not too tannic. Heat seems to accentuate tannin in wine, making it taste too astringent.

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