1 tender roasting chicken (3lb/1.4 kg or more)
flour for dusting
2-3 tbsp oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 slices ginger root, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp light soy sauce
3 tbsp Chinese rice wine or sherry
1/2 lb (225 g) green peppers, cored and seeded
Lay the chicken on its side. Holding the top firmly with one hand, use a boning knife or the tip of a Chinese cleaver to cut lengthways along the curved breastbone with your other hand, slowly cutting the beast meat off the bones by following the side of the bone and the outside of the ribs. Repeat the same action on the other side and pull the meat off the bones and away from the skin, using the knife if necessary to free it. These two pieces of chicken breast you put aside for another dish.
Now turn the breastless chicken so that it is breastbone down, preferably on a kitchen towel to prevent its slipping. With the boning knife, cut along the spine from top to tail without cutting through the bones. Probe with your fingers to locate the joint between the wing and the shoulder, then sever. Repeat the same action on the other side.
Next, separate the two’oysters’ from the carcass, and snap the joints between the thighs and the carcass. Continue to pull the meat all the way down to the tail bone, then detach it. Cut the remaining chicken into 8 pieces by separating the thighs and drumsticks, and the first and mid-portion of the wings. (The wing-tips and other bits and pieces, together with the carcass, are destined for the stockpot.)
Lightly dust the 8 chicken pieces with flour. (You should get 4-6 servings out of them if you are also serving the diced chicken pieces into about 20 bite-size small chunks.)
Heat the oil in a pre-heated saucepan or large frying pan which has a lid, add the crushed garlic and ginger pieces to flavour the oil, then turn down the heat to moderate before adding the chicken pieces. Stir until they are lightly brown all over. Now add salt, sugar, soy sauce and wine. Continue stirring for a little while, then add a little stock or water – about 7 fl oz (200ml) at most – increase the heat tohigh again to bring the liquid to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently under cover for about 20-25 minutes. You have to be careful that the sauce does not run dry so that the pieces get stuck on the bottom of the pan: if you are using a deep saucepan, stir the pieces of chicken once or twice to make sure they are evenly cooked.
About 5 minutes before serving, stir in the green peppers cut into pieces roughly the size of a postage stamp, add a little more water or stock if necessary, then turn up the heat. Leave the lid off this time and let the contents bubble a while so that there is not too much liquid left.
© Deh-Ta Hsiung and reproduced with his kind permission.