Chilli Fagara #Hongkong #Hotspot

Chilli Fagar has probably seen better days in terms of past years when it was getting Michelin star ratings, now “only” Bib Gourmand recommendation but if you are looking for very good Szechuan cooking in Hong Kong then this is definitely a good value option.

The menu offers a range of spiciness ranging from tangy to numbing, so order with care.

The couple next to us were eating a noodle soup with fish, swimming in red chillies and a devilish looking broth.

We opted for our version of safety, ordering the dumplings in what is described as a “challenging” chilli sauce, prawns with dried chilli, the sweet and salty carmelised beef with peppers, and the sizzling eggplant.

All the dishes were delicious – spicy but not so hot to dull the individual flavours of the fresh ingredients.

The dumplings were set off by the chilli paste sauce….not too hot but with a bit of a kick. The prawns were huge and juicy, with a Szechuan salt and pepper flavour imbued by some of the heat of the decorative dried chillies they are surrounded by. The eggplant was deliciously sizzling with strands of a woody mushroom/fungus and finely cut bamboo shoots for crunch. The beef was sweet and salty and brought a nice touch of calm. We were very happy with our choices and enjoyed the crisp Italian Pinot Grigia with the meal.

If you are in the mood for a spicy, authentic Szechuan meal and don’t mind a bit of authentic old school service and a slightly fraying restaurant environment, then go here for the food, if not the rest!

Chilli Fegara, 7 Old Bailey Rd, Central, Hong Kong

Twice cooked Szechuan Chicken

As a cold snap hits Sydney and winter settles in, this twice cooked Szechuan Chicken will give you just the right combination of heat and spice to warm things up.

Whilst it might look frighteningly hot, the combination of Szechuan peppercorns, cayenne pepper, large sweet peppers, and dried chillies somehow combine into a delicious warm sweet spiciness rather than mouth-numbing torture!

You can of course adjust the amount of heat by reducing the amount of Szechuan pepper, cayenne pepper and dried chillies you use but I would highly recommend trying this adapted recipe of mine to experience a more authentic version of the real thing.

I also like using a combination of thigh fillet pieces with some small pieces of bone-in chicken such as small chicken wings but this is optional.

Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 35 minutes

500g skinless thigh fillets cut into pieces
2-3 small chicken wings cut into half
1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup cornflour
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, dry roasted in pan then ground to powder in spice grinder or mortar and pestle

For cooking:

1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2-1 cup whole dried red Chillies
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 large red chilli pepper or 1/2 red capsicum sliced thinly
1/2 bunch of spring onions sliced into pieces diagonally
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
5 garlic cloves and equal amount of ginger thinly sliced
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped coriander for garnish

1. Mix soy sauce and shaoxing wine, half the cayenne powder and half the Szechuan pepper together then marinate chicken in this mixture for 20 minutes or so

2. Mix corn flour, rest of the cayenne powder and ground Szechuan pepper then put into a plastic ziplock bag and coat chicken in portions dusting off extra coating mixture then place coated chicken aside and repeat until all the chicken is coated.

3. Heat vegetable oil in wok, then fry chicken for 4-5 minutes. until crispy coating forms. Set aside to drain on paper towel.

4. Remove excess oil from wok, then return to heat and add 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine. This will release any stuck bits from bottom of pan, ginger and garlic, dried chillies, fresh chilli pepper, spring onions, chilli flakes, sesame seeds, sugar, soy sauce and heat for 1-2 minutes.

5. Add chicken to sauce and cook for 10 minutes until chicken is cooked through, adding chicken stock if more liquid is required but you really want to keep the amount of liquid to a minimum.

6. Garnish with coriander and serve with jasmine rice.