Honey chicken is a classic Australian-Chinese dish. Deep-fried battered chicken tossed through a sweet and savoury sauce made with honey and soy sauce. Kangaroo Island in South Australia is home to the world’s last remaining population of Ligurian bees. They were brought to Australia in the 19th century and since then have become extinct in their native Italy. The Black Summer bushfires threatened to wipe out this unique bee species, but their stocks are recovering.
500 g chicken breast, cut into long strips
1-2 litres oil for deep-frying, plus extra for wok frying
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds, to serve
1 egg white
½ cup plain flour
¼ cup cornflour
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ cup cold water
¼ tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cm ginger, grated
¼ cup Ligurian honey
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup water
1 tsp cornflour
Combine the chicken with the ingredients for the batter and mix to combine. Set aside for at least 15 minutes. Combine the ingredients for the honey sauce and stir well.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan to around 175C. Fry the chicken in batches for about 5 minutes until cooked through, then heat the oil to 200C and fry the chicken again in batches until brown and crisp.
Heat a wok over high heat and add a touch of oil, then add the honey sauce. Bring to a simmer and simmer for about 2 minutes until thickened. Add the fried chicken and toss to coat in the sauce. Remove to a plate and scatter with sesame seeds to serve.