Chinese restaurants in Scotland serve a wonderful chicken curry which is unlike any other. There is almost no heat and quite subtle spice, but it is delicious.
Sadly, Chinese restaurants in the rest of the world serve something completely different, so after a number of attempts I have managed to recreate this delicacy.
Step 1: Ingredients
The ingredients are labelled in the photograph above, and are also included in the printout file.
I forgot to include a splash of oil and a couple of tablespoons of sugar in the photograph, but they are in the file and they appear later in the description
Chicken stock 500ml (1 pint) or stock and water
3 Tablespoons Cornflour
2 Tablespoons Mild Curry Powder
2 Tablespoons Sugar
4 Teaspoons Chinese Five-Spice
4 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
Splash of Oil
400gm (1lb) Frozen Peas
900gm (2lb) Brown Onions
900gm (2lb) Chicken Breast
120ml (1/2 Cup) Oyster Sauce
60ml (1/4 Cup) Soy Sauce
Step 2: Make the Sauce
Pour half the stock into a blender and then add all the powder ingredients.
Blend. If you have this brand of blender, I recommend that you cover the top with a paper towel.
Once everything is combined, pour it into a saucepan.
Run the other half of the stock through the blender to get all the goodness out (and make it easier to clean).
Then pour that into the saucepan and heat until it's simmering.
Step 3: Chopping Onions - IMPORTANT
Once of the key characteristics of this dish is the texture and shape of the onion pieces.
After topping and tailing the onions, and peeling the brown skin off, chop them vertically. If the onion is a globe, you are cutting on the lines of longitude.
The long fibres in the pieces give an very tactile crunch even after cooking.
Step 4: Chicken
Cube the chicken. I usually go for about 25mm (one inch) chunks, but you can do whatever shape you like.
I would suggest not much bigger than that, to keep the moistness in the meat and allow the flavour to cook in.
Step 5: Cooking (gently)
Heat some oil in a pan, and then give the chicken a very quick heat.
DO NOT BROWN THE MEAT! Just heat it until the outside goes white.
Once the chicken is white, add the onion wedges.
When you realise that your pan is too small, tip it all into a bigger pot and then give a quick stir to mix the pieces together.
DO NOT BROWN THE ONIONS! The onions should be effectively raw for the next step.
Step 6: Add Liquid and Simmer
Add the simmered sauce prepared earlier, the oyster sauce and the soy sauce.
Then stir it all together, bring to a very slow simmer and leave for half an hour.
This is a good time to set the rice-cooker going or otherwise sort some carbohydrates out (half-rice, half-chips for a truly authentic experience).
Step 7: Last Step - Vegetables
After the pot has been simmering for half an hour or so, pour in the frozen peas.
Stir to incorporate them into the mix and turn the heat up.
Once the pot is simmering again, which should only be about five minutes, it's done.
Serve and feel the memories flooding back.
If you have no memories of Scotland, then be very grateful and just enjoy the food.