2 tbsp chopped green spring onion tops, to garnish
To make the crispy chicken, place the chicken thighs between two pieces of cling film and lightly pound them until they are evenly flat. Place the thighs in a bowl.
Place the rice wine, soy sauces, spring onions and ginger in a blender and blitz to a purée. Pour the purée into the bowl with the chicken. Add the honey, black pepper, five-spice powder, peppercorn and salt to the bowl and mix well to coat the chicken thoroughly. Leave to marinate for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the bowl and reserve the marinade.
Meanwhile, make the braised aubergine. Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and when very hot and slightly smoking, add the garlic, ginger and spring onions and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the aubergines and continue to stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, bean sauces, caster sugar, vinegar, peppercorns and stock. Turn the heat down and cook uncovered for 10–15 minutes until the aubergine is tender, stirring occasionally. Bring to the boil until the liquid has been reduced and has thickened slightly. Turn the mixture onto a serving dish and garnish with the spring onions tops.
Place a wok over a medium heat, add the reserved chicken marinade, sesame oil, spring onions and sugar. Bring this mixture to the boil and pour over the chicken. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Preheat a deep-fat fryer to 180C. Add the chicken and fry for 5 minutes. Remove and drain the chicken on kitchen paper. Reheat the oil again. Fry the chicken again until it is crispy, golden brown and cooked through with no traces of pink. Remove the chicken and drain well on kitchen paper. Slice and arrange on a platter and serve with the aubergine.