Strictly speaking, this dish should be made using a whole chicken, cut into small pieces though the bone. This is how they like their bird in Xinjiang in the rugged northwest of China, where textures and flavours are bold and in-your-face. But using marylands as your starting point makes cutting the meat up easier. These rustic homemade noodles are uber simple to make; you can’t really go wrong. If yours turn out a bit irregular, that’s part of their charm. You can always substitute any thick, flat, dried wheat noodle you find in a Chinese grocer.
- 4 large chicken marylands (about 1.2 kg)
- 425 g baby Red Delight potatoes (about 8)
- 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
- 2 carrots, cut into 2 cm pieces
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick, coarsely broken
- 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
- 12 whole dried chillies
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 cm ginger, sliced
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and bruised
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Sichuan chilli bean paste (see Note)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 ½ tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 330 ml beer
- 125 ml (½ cup) chicken stock
- 1 red capsicum, trimmed, seeded and cut into 2.5 cm pieces
- 1 green capsicum, trimmed, seeded and cut into 2.5 cm pieces
- 2 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced on a slight diagonal
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1 ½ tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 750 g (5 cups) high-gluten flour (see Note)
- 625 ml (2½ cups) cold water
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 40 minutes
Resting time 40 minutes
To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir to mix well. Using a heavy cleaver, cut the marylands through the joint to separate the drumsticks. Cut each thigh piece in half though the bone then place the chicken pieces in the bowl with the marinade and toss to coat. Cover the bowl and marinade for 40 minutes while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Cut smaller potatoes in half and larger ones into 3 pieces. Heat half the oil in a large casserole over medium-high. Add the chicken and cook, turning often, for 3-4 minutes or until golden all over and partially cooked. Remove to a bowl. Add the remaining oil to the casserole with the potatoes and carrot and cook, covered and stirring often for 5 minutes or until vegetables are starting to soften. Add the star anise, cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns, chillies, cumin, ginger and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.
Return the chicken to the casserole with the soy sauces, bean paste, sugar, wine, beer and stock then scatter over the capsicum. Bring the liquid to the boil then reduce the heat to medium, cover the casserole and cook for about 20 minutes or until the chicken and vegetables are tender. Season to taste and scatter over the green onion and serve with the noodles.
To make the noodles, combine the flour and 430 ml (1¾ cups) of the cold water in a bowl and stir to form a coarse dough. Using your hands, mix the dough, adding enough of the remaining water, a tablespoon at a time, to form a firm dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until very smooth and elastic - alternatively dough can be kneaded in an electric mixer using the dough hook. Cover the dough loosely with a damp cloth then stand for 40 minutes.
Cut dough into four even sized pieces. Working with one piece at a time on a well-floured surface, roll each piece out to a rectangle about 48 x 28 cm. Scatter flour lightly over the surface then fold the dough over onto itself several times until it measures about 10 cm across. Cut the dough into strips about 1.5 cm wide - don't cut noodles too thin or they will be hard to unroll. Using your fingers, lightly toss the noodles to unravel them then place them on a tray in a single layer and dust them again lightly with flour to stop them sticking to each other. Repeat with remaining noodles.
Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the noodles and cook, in batches if necessary and stirring using chopsticks to separate the noodles, for 4-5 minutes or until tender but still a little chewy. Drain well then serve immediately with the chicken, vegetables and cooking liquid spooned over.
• Sichuan chilli bean paste is made from broad beans and chilli, although the ones you’ll find in Asian food stores tend to be made using cheaper soy beans. This stuff is hot!
• Look for high gluten flour at an Asian food store - it’s used specifically for making dumpling skins and noodles. Blue Twin Spoons is an easily found, and dependable, brand.
Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Tiffany Page.