Sunday, 20 March 2011

Chinese Chicken and Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Another spring mainstay! When the first purple sprouts come out I love to base meals around them. They're delicious in tempura but I felt like something a bit lighter tonight. One chicken breast and a few storecupboard bits and pieces later, and you have a tasty balanced meal. Aaand I'm still cooking for one.


  • 10 sprigs of purple sprouting broccoli
  • 1 chicken breast (free-range at least)
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp Chinese all-spice powder, or
    • 3 tsp ground aniseed
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 generous tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tbsp ume plum seasoning, or 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine, or normal white wine & 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 1 packet of noodles, prepared according to the packet

Slice the broccoli in half lengthwise, if they are thicker than about 5mm across. Pop them in a steamer pan but don't start them off yet. Combine the flour and spices in a flat dish, slice the chicken into 1cm-wide pieces and cover them in flour, shaking excess off. Finely-chop the garlic and ginger, and combine the liquids in a small ramekin.

Fry the chicken pieces in just enough vegetable oil to keep them off the base of the pan, over a moderately high heat. They will take about 40 seconds per side to cook through and go a tiny bit golden. As you cook them, remove them from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.  When you're about 3 minutes from the end of the cooking process, start the broccoli steaming.

When the chicken pieces are done, remove any excess oil and wipe the burned flour out of the pan with some kitchen towel. Add a new splash of oil and fry the garlic and ginger for 30 seconds. Drain the broccoli - they should be al dente - and toss around in the pan for a minute, then pour in the liquid ingredients. Add the cooked noodles and chicken to the pan, heat through and allow the alcohol from the wine to evaporate off. Serve with lemon wedges and/or sweet chilli sauce.

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