Birds 10: Diced Chicken (雞丁)

Take some chicken breasts, cut them into small dice, and stir-fry them in boiling hot oil. Add autumn sauce and wine to the chicken and remove from the pan. Toss the chicken with diced water chestnuts, dice bamboo shoot tips, and diced shitake, with the ones producing a dark broth being the best.

羽族單::雞丁
取雞脯子,切骰子小塊,入滾油炮炒之,用秋油、酒收起;加荸薺丁、筍丁、香蕈丁拌之,湯以黑色為佳。

kungpao_chicken
The famous Kungpao chicken can be seen as a variant of this dish. It substitutes the crunchy texture of peanuts in place of water chestnuts and bamboo shoots, and the flavour of hot chilies instead of the mild tasting shitake. (Credit: Prince Roy)

Lightly par-fry chicken, season, add some veggies, and it’s done. All in all, a rather typical Chinese chicken dish.

The only weird part here is the note in the last sentence saying that dark broth is the best. This is weird since the dish has mainly light coloured ingredients so a dark broth will not work. One can only assume that Yuan Mei was referring to the shitake, which when soaked from its dry form or cooked in soup lends a clear darkish tan broth.

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