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Milk Street Bowtie Crispy Sichuan-Chili Chicken

Crispy Sichuan-Chili Chicken

1 hour

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Crispy Sichuan-Chili Chicken

Free

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

1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
4 tablespoons white sugar, divided
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups cornstarch
1/4 cup sichuan peppercorns, toasted and finely ground
Kosher salt
2 quarts peanut oil
8 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
6 tablespoons Sichuan chili oil, plus extra to serve
1 tablespoon Sichuan seasoning salt, plus extra to serve
Ingredients
  • cup soy sauce or tamari

  • 3

    tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

  • 4

    tablespoons white sugar, divided

  • 2

    large egg whites, lightly beaten

  • 2

    pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 2

    cups cornstarch

  • ¼

    cup sichuan peppercorns, toasted and finely ground

  • Kosher salt

  • 2

    quarts peanut oil

  • 8

    scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1

    cup fresh cilantro leaves

  • 6

    tablespoons Sichuan chili oil, plus extra to serve

  • 1

    tablespoon Sichuan seasoning salt, plus extra to serve

Directions
  1. 01
    In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the egg whites. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the chicken and stir to coat, then cover and let marinate at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.
    See Demo
  2. 02
    Meanwhile, set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, the cornstarch, Sichuan pepper and 1 teaspoon salt.
    See Demo
  3. 03
    Drain the chicken in a colander. Add ⅓ of the chicken to the cornstarch mixture and toss to coat completely, pressing the pieces into the cornstarch to make it adhere. Transfer the coated chicken to a mesh strainer and shake to remove excess cornstarch. Transfer to the prepared rack in a single layer. Repeat with the remaining chicken and cornstarch mixture.
    See Demo
  4. 04
    Set a second wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the peanut oil to 350°F. Add half of the coated chicken and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon or wire skimmer, transfer the chicken to the second rack. Allow the oil to return to 350°F, then repeat with the remaining chicken.
    See Demo
  5. 05
    In a small microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup, microwave the Sichuan chili oil on high until just warm, about 30 seconds. Combine the hot fried chicken and scallions in a large bowl, sprinkle with the Sichuan seasoning salt and drizzle with the warm chili oil, then toss to coat. Add the cilantro and toss again, then transfer to a platter. Serve, passing additional chili oil and seasoning salt at the table.
    See Demo
Tip: Don’t marinate the chicken longer than 30 minutes or it will be too salty.
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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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Crispy Sichuan-Chili Chicken

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

1 hour

Tip

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

Ingredients
  • cup soy sauce or tamari

  • 3

    tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

  • 4

    tablespoons white sugar, divided

  • 2

    large egg whites, lightly beaten

  • 2

    pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 2

    cups cornstarch

  • ¼

    cup sichuan peppercorns, toasted and finely ground

  • Kosher salt

  • 2

    quarts peanut oil

  • 8

    scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1

    cup fresh cilantro leaves

  • 6

    tablespoons Sichuan chili oil, plus extra to serve

  • 1

    tablespoon Sichuan seasoning salt, plus extra to serve

Step 1 of 5

Marinate the chicken

cup soy sauce or tamari
3
tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2
tablespoons white sugar
2
large egg whites, lightly beaten
2
pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the egg whites. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the chicken and stir to coat, then cover and let marinate at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 2 of 5

Prepare the cornstarch mixture

2
tablespoons white sugar
2
cups cornstarch
¼
cup Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and finely ground
1
teaspoon kosher salt

Meanwhile, set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, the cornstarch, Sichuan pepper and 1 teaspoon salt.

Step 3 of 5

Drain and coat the chicken

Drain the chicken in a colander. Add ⅓ of the chicken to the cornstarch mixture and toss to coat completely, pressing the pieces into the cornstarch to make it adhere.


Transfer the coated chicken to a mesh strainer and shake to remove excess cornstarch. Transfer to the prepared rack in a single layer. Repeat with the remaining chicken and cornstarch mixture.

Step 4 of 5

Cook and transfer

2
quarts peanut oil

Set a second wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the peanut oil to 350°F. Add half of the coated chicken and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon or wire skimmer, transfer the chicken to the second rack. Allow the oil to return to 350°F, then repeat with the remaining chicken.

Step 5 of 5

Coat, toss and serve

8
scallions, thinly sliced
1
cup fresh cilantro leaves
6
tablespoons Sichuan chili oil, plus extra to serve
1
tablespoon Sichuan seasoning salt, plus extra to serve

In a small microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup, microwave the Sichuan chili oil on high until just warm, about 30 seconds. Combine the hot fried chicken and scallions in a large bowl, sprinkle with the Sichuan seasoning salt and drizzle with the warm chili oil, then toss to coat.


Add the cilantro and toss again, then transfer to a platter. Serve, passing additional chili oil and seasoning salt at the table.

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