This is another of the dish I have come to love from Fushia's Dunlop book on Sze Chuan cooking. Besides the crispy spiciness you experience with this dish, the plus point is that the ingredients are quite easy to find in the local supermarket, especially when leeks are cheap. The original recipe calls for baby leeks, which we don't have here so I try to select the leeks which are not so thick and cut them in 'horse ear' shapes as thinly as possible. This was the first time I came across the term horse ear but I found it quite apt - you slice the leek and celery at a sharp angle, laying your knife angle very close to the cutting board. The results are crescent-shaped slices which quite look like the shape of horse ear (or cats or dogs - well certain breeds at least with perky ears).
Serves 2 -4, depending if you have other dishes with the meal
2 celery sticks
400g chicken thigh meat or about 2 chicken breasts
3 baby leeks or 1/2 leek
75ml cooking oil
6-8 dried chili
1 teaspoon whole Sichuan pepper
1.5 tablespoon Sichuan chili bean paste
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 teaspoon sesame oil
- Destring the celery sticks and cut them at a steep angle into 1cm slices. Slice the leeks the same way and set them aside.
- Cut the chicken into 2cm chunks, heat up the wok and add the oil.
- When it is smoking hot, add the chicken and stir fry over high heat for about 4-5 minutes, until it has lost much of its water content.
- Turn the heat down to medium, add the dry chilies and Sichuan pepper and stir fry for a minute and you can smell the spiciness.
- Add in the chili bean paste and stir fry it until it releases its fragrance, splash in the Shaoxing wine, and stir in the dark soy sauce and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt to taste.
- Keep stirring over a medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is dry, toasty and fragrant.
- Add in the leeks and celery and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes or until they are tender to your liking.
- Add a bit more salt to taste, remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil before you serve.