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Chengdu’s tongue-tingling chicken is more than meets the eye

Crispy Sichuan-Chili Chicken

1 hour

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Crispy Sichuan-Chili Chicken

La zi ji (which translates from the Mandarin as chicken with chilies) is a traditional Sichuan dish that gets some of its kick from Sichuan peppercorns, which lend a citrusy, floral note followed by tingling—but not eye-watering—heat. To toast the Sichuan peppercorns, heat them in a small skillet over medium and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool, then finely grind in a spice grinder. To remove any large, fibrous bits, sift the ground pepper through a mesh strainer. For additional heat, we made our own chili oil from Sichuan chili flakes, more peppercorns and whole dried red Sichuan chilies. Tailor the heat of this dish by using more or less of the chili oil.

4

Servings

Tip

Don’t marinate the chicken longer than 30 minutes or it will be too salty.

1 hour

Reviews
Satarupa B.

The chicken was super crispy even without deep frying! Thanks to some additional pepper and powdered ginger in the cornstarch, the sauce was not really necessary. The number of pots and pans used however was way too large for the result achieved. Also, I used only 1 cup of cornstarch and could have gotten away with 3/4 cup.

John B.

Followed the recipe exactly - it is a bit of a production, especially if you make the sichuan oil and sichuan spice but making those is well worth it. We cook quite a number of Chinese dishes and have made several deep fried chicken recipes in our wok and this was by far our favorite. The sweet/salty/peppery sichuan spice really added a punch of flavor. So, if you're going to be roasting the peppercorns anyway, be sure to roast enough to make this additional condiment at least. Paired with stir-fried bok choy and rice. Altogether, took 2 hours from prep to plate, cleaning the dishes along the way.


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