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Chongqing Chicken (Sichuan Chicken)

Chongqing Chicken Chongqing chicken or Chongqing Laziji combines shallow-fried chicken with fragrant dried chilies and mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns, resulting in irresistibly juicy and flavorful chicken.

WHAT IS CHONGQING CHICKEN?

Chongqing chicken is a Chinese dish from Chongqing that, until recently, was a part of the Sichuan providence known for its spicy cuisine. This plate has many names, including Szechuan, Mala, and Chongqing laziji, to name a few. Marked by mouth-tingling Sichuan peppercorns and dried red chilies, this stir-fry is not for the faint of heart. However, if you enjoy spicy food, it’s not as hot as it appears.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Dark Soy Sauce: Dark soy sauce is different from light or all-purpose soy sauce; it has a more intense flavor, and the saltiness makes it perfect for marinating.
  •  Shaoxing Wine + Eggs Whites: The combination of egg white and vinegar creates a velveting effect that tenderizes the chicken.
  •  White Sugar: Sugar prevents the chicken from becoming tough.
  •  Chicken Thighs: We use boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces. Traditionally this meal is made with a broken-down whole chicken, but I don’t possess the butchering skills. Chicken thighs work well for this recipe since they stay moist throughout the cooking process.
  •  Salt + Corn Starch: Salt and cornstarch perfectly coat the seasoned fried chicken.
  •  Sichuan Peppercorns: Citrus-flavored Sichuan peppercorns create a tingly, numbing sensation in your mouth and provide a classic Sichuan flavor. Use red or green peppercorns; the red ones are stronger, and the green is more numbing.
  •  Arbol Chilies: Mild Arbol chilies have a deep flavor and give the meal its signature look. While the meal looks super spicy at first glance, the chicken pieces are picked up with chopsticks, leaving the chilies behind, but only if you want to. I prefer to scoop up a few with each bite for a bit of heat.
  •  Ginger: Fresh ginger lends flavor to the chicken.
  •  Garlic: I suggest using four cloves, but don’t let my recipe tell you how much garlic to use – measure with your heart.
  •  Scallion: Scallions add a nice peppery finish.

HOW TO MAKE SICHUAN CHICKEN

Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a mixing bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the chicken, cover, and marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, set a wire rack onto a rimmed baking sheet.

chicken marinating in a mixing bowl for Chongqing Laziji

Pour the chicken into a colander and drain for 1-2 minutes.

Combine cornstarch and salt on a plate. Add ½ of the chicken to the mixture. Stir to coat, then shake off any excess. Set the chicken onto the wire rack, and repeat with the remaining chicken.

chicken coated in flour for Chongqing Laziji

Warm oil to 350° F (176° C) in a Dutch oven. Add half of the chicken in a single layer and cook until both sides brown, about 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to an unused wire rack or paper towels.

chicken frying in oil Chongqing Laziji

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or wok. Then, add Arbol chilies and Sichuan peppercorns until they begin to sputter.

sichuan peppercorns and arbol chilies frying in oil for Chongqing Laziji

Next, add the garlic, ginger, sugar, and Shaoxing wine. Cook for 3 minutes.

Chilies fry for the Sichuan fried chicken sauce and garlic and garlic is added to elevate the flavor.

Stir in the reserved chicken and toss to combine. Garnish with scallions, serve with jasmine rice, and get your chopsticks ready!

COOKING TIPS

  • Control the heat by increasing or reducing the number of chopped red chilies in the dish.

SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS? 

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SERVING SUGGESTIONS

  • Jasmin Rice
  • Dan Dan Noodles
  • Spring Roll
  • Wontons in Chili Oil
  • Sautéed Peppers
  • Stir Fried Cabbage
  • Sautéed String Bean
  • Sichuan Eggplant
  • Mapu Tofu

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What does Sichuan chicken taste like?

Many flavors come through in this dish- spicy, sweet, and salty. The combination of peppercorns, chilies, and garlic adds heat and savoriness to the chicken, while the sweetness comes through in the sauce.

Is Sichuan chicken spicy?

For most, Sichuan chicken is going to be pretty spicy. But, it’s not as spicy as it looks. And if you eat Chongqing Laziji with chopsticks, you can easily pick the chicken out of the dish, leaving the chilies behind.

Where can I buy Sichuan peppercorns and Arbol chilies?

Sichuan peppercorns are actually berries from an ash tree rather than pepper, but they deliver a ton of heat and a unique citrusy flavor, so we will count them! Dried red chilies are easier to come by in regular grocery stores. However, Sichuan peppercorns can be difficult to track down. Your best bet is to take a trip to a local Asian market where they should be in stock. Otherwise, I find them online.

Do you eat the peppers in Chongqing chicken?

You don’t have to eat the peppercorns and chilies, at least not all of them; use your chopsticks to pick out the chicken pieces.

YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY:

Chongqing Chicken on a plate topped with fresh scallions.

Chongqing Chicken (Sichuan Chicken)

Tressa Jamil
Chongqing chicken combines deep-fried chicken pieces with fragrant Arbol chilies and mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns, resulting in irresistibly juicy and flavorful chicken.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese, Sichuan
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 550 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Marinade:

For the Chicken:

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, skinless and boneless, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 2 quarts canola oil

For the Dish:

  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns, dried, red or green
  • 1 cup red chilies, dried, chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and julienne
  • 4 cloves garlic, julienne
  • ½ teaspoon white sugar, granulated
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
  • 8 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens separated

Instructions
 

  • Combine the ingredients for the marinade In a mixing bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the chicken, cover, and marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, set a wire rack onto a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Pour the marinated chicken into a colander and let it drain for 1-2 minutes.
  • Combine cornstarch and salt on a plate. Add ½ of the chicken to the cornstarch mixture. Stir to coat, then shake off any excess. Set the chicken onto the wire rack, and repeat with the remaining chicken.
  • Warm the oil to 350° F (176° C) in a Dutch oven. Add half of the chicken in a single layer and cook until both sides brown, about 3-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to an unused wire rack or paper towels.
  • Allow the oil to return to 350° F (176° C) and repeat the process with the remaining chicken.
  • Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or wok. Then, add Arbol chilies and Sichuan peppercorns until they begin to sputter.
  • Next, add the garlic, ginger, sugar, and Shaoxing wine. Cook for about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the reserved chicken and toss to combine.
  • Garnish with scallions, serve with jasmine rice, and get your chopsticks ready!

Notes

Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 ServingCalories: 550kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 36gFat: 22gSodium: 1191mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8g
Keyword chongqing chicken, sichuan chicken
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating




Shariq

Wednesday 16th of November 2022

This has to be one of the best friend chicken dishes I've tried! So flavorful and easy to prepare. The peppers taste so good, I keep eating them long after the chicken is gone.

Eric

Sunday 1st of May 2022

I'm going to try this as soon as I have the opportunity, sounds delicious!

Tressa - Jamil Ghar Team

Sunday 1st of May 2022

Thank you for taking the time to comment, Eric. Please come back here and let us know what you think once you've made it!