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Instant Pot

Spicy Sichuan Steamed Chicken

4 Servings

1 hour 20 minutes active

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This Sichuan chicken dish, called kou shui ji, usually is a poached whole chicken that’s sliced, then drenched in an aromatic chili oil sauce. Here we use only chicken breasts, cooking them in a chili oil infusion; the resulting cooking liquid becomes a spicy, flavorful sauce that’s drizzled over the sliced meat. Sichuan peppercorns, which have a unique tongue-tingling flavor, are unrelated to black or white peppercorns; they are reddish-brown and resemble tiny dried berries. Look for them in Asian supermarkets; if not available, use 1 teaspoon black peppercorns instead. The flavor will be different, but still good. The chicken can be served warm, room temperature or cold. Wrap the slices in lettuce leaves or serve over steamed jasmine rice with an extra drizzle of chili oil, if desired.




Don’t forget to remove the skin from the chicken. This helps the seasonings penetrate the meat and prevents the cooking liquid from becoming greasy with rendered fat.

1 hour

20 minutes active


  • ¼

    cup chili oil

  • 1

    inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced


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Jovanna K.

This recipe was very easy and turned out quite well. I added some sliced scallions at the end along with the cilantro for some added flavor.

Harvey B.

Have made it twice, and the chicken comes out way over cooked, compared to how you would get it in a Chinese Restaurant.

Using a 6 Qt Instapot, following the timings to the letter. Chicken is even straight from the refrigerator going in.

Has anyone else here figured out the correct timing? Going to try manually reducing the pressure at the end of the pressure time the next time and not wait for the extended, natural cool down. I verified I am using the low heat setting on the pressure cooker, and it does take longer to get to pressure than recipes that use the higher setting.

Open to any guidance on how to fix this. I'm seeing the breasts coming out at 185 deg F, which of course is what is making them tough.



Lynn C.

Hi Harvey -

Are you sure that your 3 bone-in chicken breasts are 10-12 ounces each? There is a wide variation in size of bone-in chicken breasts these days and, if yours are coming in a little bit smaller, that could be the cause of the overcooking.

The Milk Street Team

Anna D.

This recipe is delicious! I followed Jovanna's advice and added sliced scallions at the end and it really added a nice flavor. I used two large, bone-in chicken breasts and cooked them on low pressure for 8 minutes, followed by a 15 minute natural release. They were right at 165 degrees, tender and juicy. I sliced and served them over a bed of jasmine rice with an extra drizzle of Chiu Chow style chili oil.