Dong’an Chicken

This dish is from the town of Dong’an in Hunan province, and it is unusual in that it uses chicken that has been precooked. Be sure not to overcook the chicken during the precooking stage, or it will be tough. As always, I recommend you find pastured chicken – your taste buds will thank you, and you’ll do both your health and the environment a favor when you choose sustainably raised poultry.


  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 T fresh ginger root, cut into thin shreds
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorn or other peppercorn
  • 2 red chilies, seeded (or not!) and cut into thin shreds
  • 2 stalks Chinese celery or regular celery, sliced thinly on the diagonal
  • 2 T oil


  • 1 T light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt



  1. Rinse the chicken thighs and remove the skin if you prefer, then place into 4 c of water in a saucepan (they should be just covered with water – add more as needed). Cover, bring to a boil, immediately remove to a bare simmer, and cook for 5 m. If you boil too vigorously, the meat will be tough.
  2. Combine the marinade ingredients in one bowl, the sauce ingredients in another, and set aside.
  3. Remove chicken to a plate until cool enough to handle, reserving the broth for another purpose.
  4. Cut down the middle of each thigh, remove the bone, then cut against the grain into 1/2″ thick slices.
  5. Combine the chicken with the marinade and allow to rest for 15 m or more.
  6. Heat 1 T oil in the wok over high heat until it shimmers, explode the chili pepper shreds just until fragrant, then add the celery and stirfry 15 seconds. Remove to a plate.
  7. Add 1 T oil, heat until it shimmers, then add the peppercorns, removing as soon as they brown. Explode the ginger until fragrant, add the chicken, and stirfry 1 m.
  8. Return the celery and chili peppers, add the scallions, and stirfry just to heat through and combine.
  9. Add the sauce and stir constantly until thick and clear and the starchy taste is cooked out, approximately 1 m more.
  10. Adjust seasoning and serve.

nutritional data:

This recipe serves four, and figures are given per serving. I have chosen to leave the skin on the chicken, but if you are trying to lower your fat intake, it can be removed before simmering the chicken. Trying to reduce sodium intake – you can decrease the amount of salt and/or soy sauce used.

  • Total calories 290, calories from fat 182
  • Total fat 20 g, saturated fat 5 g
  • Cholesterol 72 mg
  • Sodium 505 mg
  • Total carbs 10 g, dietary fiber 2 g, sugars 3 g
  • Protein 17 g

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