Fried chicken is hard to argue with. Buttermilk fried chicken, Japanese Fried Chicken (Karaage), you name it. Dip fried chicken in spicy oil that has a deep, roasted flavor that lingers on your tongue, and you’ve got a dish worth traveling around the world for. Watch the latest episode of Milk Street TV, however, and you’ll see how easy, and fast, it is to make this recipe at home.

La ji zi—also known as ma la or Chongqing chicken—is a tongue-tingling dish that hails from China’s Sichuan province, and once we discovered how approachable it was to make at home, we couldn’t get enough of it. On Milk Street TV, Chris and Matt demonstrate the process step-by-step, showing off the simple tips that will help you perfect the dish. Warning: you will leave hungry.

There are a couple reasons this fried chicken is a cut above the rest.

First, the texture. Unlike Southern-style fried chicken, which is typically coated in flour, this recipe calls for coating chicken in cornstarch and egg whites, which makes for a really light and crispy batter.

At Milk Street, instead of simply shaking off excess coating, we also toss the dredged chicken in a strainer to ensure the lightest, crispiest finish.

Another key here is that the pieces of chicken are small, which means more surface area for the batter to coat, and ultimately more texture.

But this chicken is as much about flavor as it is about texture, and that’s where the Sichuan peppercorns, the chili oil and the seasoning salt come in.

Sichuan cuisine is built around a series of flavor combinations, the best-known being ma la, the combination of Sichuan peppercorns and chili heat. Though some people mistake ma la for meaning mouth-numbingly spicy, the mouth-numbing quality comes from the Sichuan peppercorns (find them in our store), which are berries that leave a tingling sensation on the tongue. Their flavor is floral and bright, with hints of lemon and pine, and they add an inimitable flavor to this dish.

We use ground peppercorns as well as a Sichuan Seasoning, which is a mixture of ground peppercorns, salt and sugar. (Use a spice mill—not your coffee grinder—for this, unless you want an extra zing in your morning cup!)

The heat comes from oil that has been infused with a Sichuan pepper, and you can add as much—or as little—as you like. Note: when heating the oil, don’t heat it above 275 °F for 3-4 minutes, otherwise you’ll end up with a bitter flavor.

Once you’ve made your seasoning and your oil, the dish comes together in five minutes. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a fried chicken recipe that can compete.

See how it’s done on Milk Street TV and read more about the origin of this addictive, tongue-tingling chicken here.