Sweet Chili Lime Chicken by Diana Kuan
This is an entree that disappears quickly whenever I serve it at potluck dinner parties. It’s difficult to say which part is more addictive—the crunchy and airy texture, or the flavors of sweet chili sauce mixed with freshly squeezed lime juice. The shallow-frying method in the recipe will produce the same crisp texture as deep-frying without using a lot of oil, and you have the option of getting the chicken extra crunchy by double-frying for 30 extra seconds.
SERVES 4, as part of a multi-course meal
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 egg whites
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1½ cups cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups plus 1 tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil
8 dried red chilies (Japonés, serrano, Tien Tsin, or cayenne)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, for garnish
Scallions, green parts thinly sliced, for garnish
In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce and egg whites. Add the chicken, toss to coat with the mixture, and let sit for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the sweet chili sauce, rice wine, lime juice, sesame oil, and chili flakes. Set the sauce aside.
In a large bowl or deep plate, toss the cornstarch with the salt and black pepper. Add the chicken and toss to coat in the cornstarch, shaking off any excess before frying.
Pour the 3 cups of oil into a wok and heat until the temperature reads 350°F on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in two or three batches, fry the chicken cubes until golden brown on the outside and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes, flipping with tongs about halfway through to ensure even cooking. Transfer the chicken to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Optional: To get the chicken extra crispy, work in batches again and return the chicken to the oil for 30 more seconds before draining again on paper towels.
Pour the oil out of the wok into a heatproof container and save for discarding. Wipe the wok with a paper towel to remove any browned bits, but don’t wash.
Reheat the wok over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the dried chilies, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry until just fragrant, about 20 seconds. Pour in the sauce mixture and stir until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.
Return the chicken to the wok and stir well to coat with sauce. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions and serve.--
Reprinted from Red Hot Kitchen: Classic Asian Chili Sauces from Scratch and Delicious Dishes to Make With Them by arrangement with Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2019, Diana Kuan.