Big Plate Chicken

This is a Chinese dish that uses potatoes and has a spicing that is quite close to Indian food. It comes from the western edge of China, where the Silk Road heads off into Central Asia, so I suppose that is where the influences came from in the spices used in the recipe.

There are loads of variations but this is what I did.

Ingredients

Unboned chicken drumsticks (you are supposed to use a whole jointed bird but I had these drumsticks in the freezer)
2 peeled and cubed potatoes
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced onion
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 or 3 roughly chopped tomatoes
2 sliced green chillies
1 cubed red pepper
4 whole dried chillies
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
4 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon tomato purée
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons of Shao Xing rice wine
vegetable oil
salt to taste

I left the skin on the chicken and parboiled it in salted water for 10 minutes, then drained it, reserving the water, and marinated it in the rice wine and soy for about half an hour.

The oil was heated up in a wok and then I fried off the dried whole spices before adding the fresh chillies, garlic, ginger and onions, stirring them as they fried in the hot oil.

Then I added the chicken to the wok and fried that for about 3 or 4 minutes before adding the potato and carrot pieces, the soy marinade and the water from poaching the chicken, the white pepper, sugar, tomato purée and the chopped tomatoes.

This was then simmered for about 15 minutes and then chopped red pepper was added and the seasoning adjusted.

After another 5 minutes, the dish was finished when the potato and carrot was soft and had absorbed the flavours.

You could serve it with noodles or an Indian style bread. I chose to use parathas to soak up the rich, spicy gravy, but I also served some plain noodles as well.

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