A big plate of chicken is a great dish to share for a festive gathering, and for winter, this stew really warms you up! The name, Dapanji, literally means a big plate of chicken, and, as you can probably imagine with a name like that, there are many variations of this recipe. Dapanji is actually a fusion dish between Sichuan and Xinjiang cuisine, so it’s definitely spicy! We’ve made it here with a poussin as we didn’t have that many mouths to feed, but as you can imagine, it’s easy to scale up.Bell peppers usually form part of the recipe as well, and you can choose a mix of red and green ones to make this colourful, but personally I can’t eat bell peppers, so this version has substituted them with mushrooms, as mushrooms are often an optional ingredient when making big plate chicken.
Also, I’ve decided to add some handmade flat noodles to the stew, which is quite a common choice, but it can also be eaten with something that’s very similar to naan bread! Mine was made with wholemeal flour, but white flour is more common.
The recipe requires a bit of prep work/waiting time, so it’s best to start 30 mins before the proper cooking time. The actual making takes roughly 20 minutes for the chicken and a further 15 mins for the noodles.
1 poussin/500g chicken
2 tbsps of soy sauce
2 tbsps of Shaoxing rice wine
1/2 tsp of black pepper
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of five spice powder
100-150g of potatoes
100-150g of mushrooms/bell peppers
3 spring onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 piece of ginger
1 tsp of Sichuan peppercorns
3-4 dried red chillis
1 low salt chicken stock cube/half a bottle of beer
1 tbsp of tomato ketchup/sauce
For the noodles
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
You’ll also need water, cooking oil and salt to taste.
Prep step 1: cleave the chicken into pieces, roughly the same size as a wing. Place it in a food bag with the soy sauce, rice wine, black pepper, cinnamon powder and five spice powder to marinade for 30+ mins.
Prep step 2: slowly add a mix of half boiled, half cold water (around 1/4 cup) to the flour and pinch of salt and kneed it into a firm dough. Leave this wrapped in clingfilm for 30+ mins.
Step 1: peel and cut the potatoes so that each piece is smaller than the chicken pieces, slice the mushrooms/bell peppers, the ginger, garlic and chop the white sections of the spring onions to around 1 inch sections and chop the green parts more finely.
Step 2: place a generous amount of oil in a pan, heat the oil with the peppercorns and chillis until the oil sizzles, then add the ginger, garlic and whites of spring onions.
Step 3: remove the chicken from the bag, keeping the juice for later, and drop it into the pan. Stir well on high heat so that the surface starts to brown.
Step 4: once the outside of the chicken looks cooked, switch to medium heat. Place in the mushrooms (if using these and not bell peppers), any juice from the bag and stock cube/beer, then add enough water to half cover the chicken.
Step 5: wait for the pan to come to a boil, then add the potatoes. Cover with a tiny vent and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes – water should still be able to escape.
Step 6: remove the lid, add the bell peppers at this stage if using, add the ketchup and salt to taste, and stir well, simmering for another 5-10 minutes until the juice is almost gone. Sprinkle with the green parts of the spring onion, and it’s ready for the noodles!
Noodle step 1: this can be done when the chicken is cooking in step 5. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin and cut it into 3 pieces.
Noodle step 2: cover each piece thoroughly with cooking oil and carefully start to stretch it. The noodle should become quite thin without breaking.
Noodle step 3: bring a pan of water to boil, then drop in the noodle on high heat. Add a pinch of salt. Once the noodle comes to a boil, cook on medium heat for a further 2 minutes, until the noodle starts to float.
Step 7: strain the noodle and place it in a large container. Poor the chicken on top with any remaining juices, so that as you eat your way through the chicken, the noodles will soak up the flavours from this! Enjoy!
This recipe is a bit longer than our usual ones, as it’s the holidays at the moment. Did you get to spend some time to enjoy cooking this holiday season?Follow @blenderbasil