Cantonese-style crispy fried chicken tacos with smashed cucumber

4
50 minutes

Ingredients

Aromatic poaching stock

  • 500g of boneless chicken thighs
  • 600ml of water
  • 30ml of light soy sauce
  • 60ml of Shaoxing wine
  • 90ml of Chinese red vinegar
  • 40g of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp of cornflour, mixed with water to make a paste

Smacked cucumber

  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sichuan peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp of sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil

To serve

  • vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 handful of coriander

Method

1
To begin, prepare the chicken thighs by cutting each into 3 pieces
  • 500g of boneless chicken thighs
2
Place all ingredients for the poaching stock (apart from the cornflour) in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn down to a simmer, add the chicken and gently poach for 10–12 minutes
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 600ml of water
  • 30ml of light soy sauce
  • 60ml of Shaoxing wine
  • 90ml of Chinese red vinegar
  • 40g of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • cornflour
3
Remove the chicken and set aside. Turn up the heat and reduce the poaching liquor to a syrup. Once you get to single cream consistency, add the cornflour paste to thicken to a glossy glaze
4
Brush the chicken with some of the glaze then leave to air-dry
5
Preheat a deep-fryer or deep pan of oil to 180°C
  • vegetable oil, for deep frying
6
Smash the cucumber with the bottom of a pan or the side of a large, heavy knife. Dice into 1cm cubes, place in a colander and sprinkle over the salt. Gently mix then set aside in the fridge for 10 minutes
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 tsp salt
7
In the meantime, toast the sichuan pepper and chilli flakes in a hot dry pan until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush to a course powder. Toast the sesame seeds then mix with the crushed spices. Combine the spices with the cucumber along with the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp of sesame seeds
8
Deep-fry the chicken pieces until golden brown, then brush with more of the glaze
9
To assemble the tacos, brush the centre of each tortilla with some of the glaze. Add some small sprigs of coriander then top with the chicken pieces and some smashed cucumber
  • 1 handful of coriander
  • 8 corn tortillas