Xinjiang dapanji (Big-plate chicken)

Source: Global Times [17:10 March 17 2011]

This is actually a small plate of "Big-plate chicken", a big plate is about 15″ in diameter and is enough for 8 people! Chicken, potatoes, medium chillies, garlic and usually onions in a really fragrant sauce with star anise and Sichuan Pepper. An international classic dish in my opinion. This is the version at the “Alibaba” run by a Tartar family, again subtly different in flavour from the version at the other Xinjiang restaurants, where the owners are Uighurs. 

The version of "dapanji" at the "Tianshan" restaurant. Here the flavours are slightly different and the dish has more onion, but still with the principal spicing of chilli, Sichuan pepper, and, most importantly, Star anise. Less chilli oil as a base, so the sauce is less red in colour. At the Tianshan, they will serve the dapanji on a bed of "nang" bread 'like this, if you wish. The bread soaks up the sauce and is exceedingly "more-ish". Photo: mafh.com