Author Notes: Many moons ago I lived in a rough and ready part of town.
What it lacked in beauty it more than made up for in spirit and food, and there I got to experience flavours from far flung places like Jamaica, Kurdistan and Pakistan. It’s also where I first encountered a tava and had food cooked tak-a-tak style, oh how I miss the clatter and tastes of Desi Express.
Not two minutes walk from my house was a (rather suspect looking) Chinese takeaway that did a roaring trade. Taking confidence in the sheer volume of diners I looked beyond the facade and took the plunge. Their so named chicken sheung really ignited my taste-buds and I indulged on a regular basis, that was, until said takeaway was shut down for dubious hygiene practices, I and started making it in the safety of my own home. —thekitchenalchemist
Serves: 2 as a main
chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
light soy sauce
shaoxing rice wine/ dry sherry if you don’t have
thumb sized pieces of ginger
garlic clove, peeled
1 small tin each
water chestnuts and bamboo shoots, roughly chopped
1 large carrot
peeled and finely diced
red cabbage, finely diced
1 iceberg or little gem lettuce
separated in to its leaves
Vegetable/ground nut oil for frying
Chopped red chilli and spring onion for serving
- If you have a food processor, place the onion, garlic and ginger into it and blitz until finely chopped. Then add the chicken thighs and pulse until finely minced — turn out into a large mixing bowl.
- If you don’t have a food processor, finely chop the garlic, onion, ginger and chicken until finely cut, then place into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the oyster sauce, rice wine and soy and mix through the chicken, making sure everything is combined together.
- Sit in the fridge, covered to marinade for at least 30 minutes, and up to 24 hours. When ready to eat, remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.
- Place a few tablespoons oil into a wok or frying pan and heat for a minute or two on the highest heat. Add the carrot and cook for a minute or two, then add the chicken mix and spread it out over the base of the pan. Let it sit there and cook for a couple of minutes then turn it and move it in the pan — you’re looking for it to have caught a little and turned dark around the edges.
- Keep cooking, adding the water chestnut, bamboo and cabbage and stirring and turning the chicken until it all separates into its tiny pieces and is cooked through — this will take in total around 8 minutes, when ready, add the rice vinegar and stir through.
- Place the chicken into a large serving bowl with a couple of spoons, and a bowl full of the lettuce cups/leaves on the side, top with spring onion and chilli and devour.