In this lovely dish, the chicken gets an egg-white-and-cornstarch coating, which creates a texture the Chinese imagine to be velvety.
1 skinless chicken breast filet (about 6 ounces)
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 quart plus 1 teaspoon peanut oil
1/3 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons shao hsing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cups small broccoli flowerets
1 tablespoon paper-thin fresh ginger slices
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
8 pieces Smithfield ham (each about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch by 1/16 inch)*
6 baby corn
1/2 teaspoon Chinese sesame oil
1. Freeze the chicken breast slightly and cut on the bias into thin, broad slices. Mix with the egg white and the salt. Stir vigorously until the egg white foams. Add 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch and 1 teaspoon of the peanut oil. Blend well. Let sit, unrefrigerated and covered, for 1 hour.
2. While the chicken is sitting, prepare the sauce: mix together the chicken broth, shao hsing, vinegar, sugar, MSG, and black pepper. Mix the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch with enough cold water to make a milky cream; add to the sauce mixture.
3. When ready to cook, heat remaining 1 quart of peanut oil in a wok to 375 degrees. Add the chicken slices and deep-fry for 20 seconds. Remove to paper towels. Add the broccoli flowerets and deep-fry until just cooked, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to paper towels. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the oil. Over moderately high heat, stir-fry the ginger, garlic, ham, and baby corn in the remaining oil for 1 minute. Increase heat to very high, and add the sauce mixture. When it comes to a boil and thickens, add the chicken, broccoli, and egg white chunks. Stir quickly, turn off heat, add the sesame oil, and serve.
In this lovely dish, the chicken gets an egg-white-and-cornstarch coating, which creates a texture the Chinese imagine to be velvety. Serves 4 as part of Chinese dinner