1 lb chicken thigh, boned and cubed
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cornstarch, plus
2 teaspoons cornstarch
5 dried chili pods
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons rice wine
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 In a large bowl, thoroughly blend the 1/2 cup of cornstarch and the eggs; add the chicken and toss to coat.
2 If the mixture is too thick, add some vegetable oil to separate the pieces.
3 In a small bowl, prepare the sauce mixture by combining the 2 tsp cornstarch with the wine, vinegar, sugar and soy sauce.
4 First-Stage Frying: Heat 1-2 inches of peanut oil in a wok to medium-high heat (350-400).
5 Fry the chicken in small batches, just long enough to cook the chicken through.
6 Remove the chicken to absorbent paper and allow to stand (this step can be performed well in advance, along with the sauce mixture, with both refrigerated).
7 Second-Stage Frying: Leave a tablespoon or two of the oil in the wok.
8 Add the pepper pods to the oil and stir-fry briefly, awakening the aroma but not burning them.
9 Return the chicken to the wok and stir-fry until the pieces are crispy brown.
10 The General’s Favorite Sauce: Add the sauce-mixture to the wok, tossing over the heat until the sauce caramelizes into a glaze (1-2 minutes).
11 Serve immediately.
12 Serves 4, along with steamed broccoli and rice.