This is a thin batter but the chicken pieces turn out light and crispy. Something a little different is vodka added to the batter, you don’t taste it at all but it gives the chicken an extra crispiness. I love Broccolini and had it on hand so used it in this recipe. You could also use regular broccoli or add whatever vegetable you prefer, I also added mushrooms. Serve with steamed rice.
- 6 cups vegetable or grapeseed oil
- 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut into 1/2- by 2- by 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound broccolini cut into 1-inch pieces ( I also added about 2 cups of thickly sliced mushrooms)
- 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon black bean paste
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 (1-inch) segments lemon peel, plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger
- 6 scallions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, divided
Heat oil in a wok to 350°F. Whisk together 1/2 cup cornstarch, flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Add water and vodka and whisk until a smooth batter is formed, adding up to 2 tablespoons additional water if batter is too thick. It should have the consistency of thin paint and fall off of the whisk in thin ribbons that instantly disappear as they hit the surface of the batter in the bowl.
Add chicken slices and carefully turn to coat. Working one at a time, lift one piece and allow excess batter to drip off. Carefully lower into hot oil. Repeat with remaining tofu until wok is full. Fry, using a metal spider or slotted spatula to rotate and agitate pieces as they cook until evenly pale golden and crisp all over, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until all tofu is fried. Carefully pour all but 1 tablespoon oil out of wok and reserve for another use.
Combine wine, stock, soy sauce, bean sauce, sugar, sesame oil, lemon peel and juice, and remaining 2 teaspoons corn starch in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Return wok to high heat until lightly smoking. Add broccolini( and sliced mushrooms if using) and cook, stirring and tossing frequently, until lightly charred on several sides but still firm. Add garlic, ginger, and scallions and cook, tossing constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer broccolini and aromatics to a bowl.
Return skillet to high heat. Give the sauce mixture a quick whisk, then pour it into the wok. Cook, stirring, until thick and glossy, about 30 seconds. Return broccolini( and mushrooms in my case) and chicken to pan. Add 1 tablespoon sesame seeds. Remove from heat. Turn with a wide spatula until all pieces are evenly coated. Season to taste with more salt as desired. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds, and serve immediately.