This simple chicken stir-fry is first fried in a light coating of egg and cornstarch and then tossed through a sauce made with green peppercorns, rice vinegar and dark soy sauce.


600 g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 5cm pieces

½ cup cornstarch

1 egg white

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

¼ tsp ground white pepper

approx. 2 cups vegetable oil, for deep-frying

1 cup basil leaves, picked

600 g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 5cm pieces

½ cup cornstarch

1 egg white

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 small onion, sliced

50 g green peppercorns in brine, drained


2 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp Shaoxing wine

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp dark soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp grated ginger


Combine the chicken, cornstarch and egg white in a large bowl with the soy sauce, sesame oil and white pepper and mix well. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan to 165C and fry the basil leaves (watch out, they may spit – I add them to the saucepan and quickly cover it with a lid for about 30 seconds until the spitting settles down) for about 1 minute until the basil is crisp, then remove from the oil. Increase the heat of the oil to 180C and fry the chicken in batches for about 4 minutes per batch or until just cooked through.

Heat a wok over high heat and add 1 tbsp of the frying oil. Fry the garlic, onio and green peppercorns for about 1 minute, then add the sauce ingredients and ½ cup of stock or water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 3 minutes, then add the chicken and toss to coat for a further minute until the sauce is thickened and coating the chicken. Remove the chicken to a serving plate and scatter the basil leaves around to serve.