Unique Uighur Flavours
In December 2004, Rahila David, her husband Shaoket, and their daughters, 11-year-old Shaida and 3-year-old Youli stepped off a plane and into a new life in Canada. Toronto was different from Tokyo. About half a day earlier, they were in a bustling and chic city—a capital of world capitals—and now they were surrounded by a grey and slushy place.
[continue reading this article and get the recipe for Rahila David’s Tohogoshi Narin (Big Plate Chicken)]
Rahila David's Tohogoshi Narin
- 80-125 ml peanut oil (⅓-½ cup), as required
- 15 ml sugar
- 1 kg skinless bone-in chicken, cut into 5 cm (2-inch) chunks (eight or nine bone-in chicken thighs) (2lbs)
- ½ onion, sliced pole to pole
- 45 ml Shaoxing cooking wine OR dry sherry (3 Tbsp)
- 6-10 whole dried red chillies, to taste
- 3 cm ginger, sliced thin (approx 1 inch)
- 1-2 star anise pods, to taste
- 10 ml whole Sichuan peppercorns (2 tsp)
- 5 ml black pepper (1 tsp)
- 125 ml chopped garlic (½ cup)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 ml cumin seeds (1 tsp)
- 5 ml fennel seeds (1 tsp), optional
- 1 black cardamom pod
- 30 ml dark soy sauce (2 Tbsp)
- 2-3 tomatoes, chopped, optional
- 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped into 5cm (2-inch) cubes
- water, as needed
- 2 carrots, chopped into 5cm (2-inch) cubes
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 2 green onions, (green parts only), cut into 3 cm (1¼-inch) lengths
- salt, to taste
- Heat the oil over medium heat. Add sugar and stir for a minute or two until until it caramelises Stir in the chicken, onions, and then add wine. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add chillies, ginger, star anise, Sichuan pepper, black pepper, garlic, cinnamon stick, cumin seeds, fennel seeds (if using), and cardamom. Mix well and let cook for a couple of minutes.
- Stir in soy sauce, tomatoes (if using), and potatoes. Add enough water to barely cover. With the lid off, heat for five minutes before adding carrots. Keep the pan uncovered and bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Skim the froth as needed and stir occasionally as it simmers for 15 minutes.
- Add the bell peppers. Stir and cook for five minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Adjust for salt, if necessary. When ready, remove the cardamom pod, cinnamon stick and start anise. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.