Chinese skottel take-away chicken

So you haven’t got a wok? Haul out your skottel braai to make this Chinese-influenced take-away special. While a skottel is a compromise in this case, it’s one that certainly works.

Be warned: sesame oil has a strong flavour, so add only one or two teaspoons
Photo: Peter Whitfield

To make Chinese skottel take-away chicken for four, you will need:

Stage 1: Chicken

    • 1kg chicken breast fillets
    • 30ml dark soya sauce
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 eggs (whites only)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 cups Maizena
  • Canola or sunflower oil on demand


Stage 2: Sauce

  • 120ml chicken stock
  • 75ml lemon juice
  • Zest of two lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 50mm fresh root ginger
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Maizena

Begin by cutting the chicken breast fillets into 20mm x 20mm squares. The big deal here is to make the sections uniform to promote even cooking. Separate the eggs and pour the whites into a mixing bowl. Add the 30ml soya sauce and the single teaspoon of sesame oil. This is a conservative amount of sesame oil. Be warned that the flavour is strong. If you feel your guests may enjoy the taste, add a second teaspoon, but no more. Stir well, add the chicken sections, and stir again. Let this mixture stand for 10 minutes undercover.

Pour the two cups of Maizena into a large dish and drop the coated chicken pieces into it.  Using tongs, pick up and shake each chicken piece to knock off excess Maizena. Place these lightly-dusted marinated pieces in a bowl for stir-frying later in the proceedings. Skottel time. Pour 250ml of canola or sunflower oil into the skottel, fire it up and wait for the oil to get very hot.

Gently lower about 12 chicken pieces into the oil and keep them moving for about three minutes. Remove and reserve, while you continue the stir-frying process until all the pieces are done. We do this piecemeal to avoid too radical a drop in oil temperature. As soon as all have been stir-fried, tip them back into the very hot oil for a single half-minute splash to crisp them up a bit. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Sauce time. Peel and mince the garlic, then peel and grate the fresh ginger. Wipe the skottel clean, then pour in two tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic and ginger and let them sizzle for 45 seconds. At this point, pour in the chicken stock, taking great care to avoid splashes and consequent injury. Stir in the freshly squeezed lemon juice, brown sugar, soya sauce and lemon zest. Let this bubble lightly away under supervision until the volume decreases by 50%.

Using a little at a time, stir in the Maizena as a thickening agent. Kill the flame and tip in the cooked stir-fried chicken pieces. Mix them well with the hot, lemony sauce, then serve with either noodles or freshly-made plain white rice. Scrumptious!