Ingredients

CHICKEN SKEWERS
500g chicken hearts or thighs (or a combination of both)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or ½ tablespoon each lemon and orange juice)
TOFU SKEWERS
300g firm tofu
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or ½ tablespoon each lemon and orange juice
SPICY MELON & CELERY SALAD
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon black vinegar
2 tablespoons chilli oil
4 stalks celery
¼ small watermelon (about 2kg)
¼ green melon (about 750g)
CUMIN SALT & PEPPER
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon red chilli flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon salt

Chicken hearts are always going to be divisive; they are tasty and great cooked this way, but not for everyone! Little chicken thigh pieces are also delicious and interchangeable in this recipe but just take care to make sure they are cooked through. I serve the skewers with a sweet and spicy melon and celery salad. If you don’t like the idea of melon, replace it with cucumber and add a little sugar to the dressing. You can serve with some rice, noodles or spring onion pancakes on the side if you like.

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Instructions

1.To prepare the chicken hearts, cut the fatty tops off and remove any connective tissue and discard.
2.Slice through the side of each heart so they open out and remove any blood clots. Put into a bowl.
3.To prepare the chicken thighs, cut into small pieces (about 2cm dice) and put in a bowl. Add the soy sauce and Shaoxing wine or juice to the chicken, mix well then set aside.
4.Cut the tofu into slices and put in a bowl with the soy sauce and Shaoxing wine or juice, mix well then set aside.
5.To make the dressing, put the soy sauce in a large bowl and combine with the garlic, sugar, sesame oil, vinegar and chilli oil.
6.For the salad, use a vegetable peeler to remove the strings from the celery and discard (I prefer the tough stringy bits of the celery removed for salad but feel free to skip this step if it doesn’t bother you).
7.Cut the celery into thick diagonal pieces and add to the dressing.
8.Cut the melon into bite-sized pieces, discarding any seeds.
9.Add to the dressing and toss well.
10.Put the cumin seeds, Sichuan peppercorns and red chilli flakes in a frying pan and toast for 1 minute until just fragrant.
11.Use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to grind together with the salt into a rough powder.
12.Thread the chicken, chicken hearts and tofu onto skewers.
13.Heat a hibachi or other grill to very hot and cook the skewers for 4 minutes or to your liking.
14.Sprinkle some cumin mixture on the skewers towards the end of cooking and a bit more once they are off the grill.
15.Serve with the spicy melon and celery salad.

Recipes & food styling Fiona Smith/ Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Fiona Lascelles

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