1 lb chicken thigh, boned and cubed
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cornstarch, plus
2 teaspoons cornstarch
5 dried chili pods
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons rice wine
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
In a large bowl, thoroughly blend the 1/2 cup of cornstarch and the eggs; add the chicken and toss to coat.
If the mixture is too thick, add some vegetable oil to separate the pieces.
In a small bowl, prepare the sauce mixture by combining the 2 tsp cornstarch with the wine, vinegar, sugar and soy sauce.
First-Stage Frying: Heat 1-2 inches of peanut oil in a wok to medium-high heat (350-400).
Fry the chicken in small batches, just long enough to cook the chicken through.
Remove the chicken to absorbent paper and allow to stand (this step can be performed well in advance, along with the sauce mixture, with both refrigerated).
Second-Stage Frying: Leave a tablespoon or two of the oil in the wok.
Add the pepper pods to the oil and stir-fry briefly, awakening the aroma but not burning them.
Return the chicken to the wok and stir-fry until the pieces are crispy brown.
The General’s Favorite Sauce: Add the sauce mixture to the wok, tossing over the heat until the sauce caramelizes into a glaze (1-2 minutes).
Serves 4, along with steamed broccoli and rice.