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
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.
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 3 minutes.
Stir in the reserved chicken and toss to combine. Garnish with scallions, serve with jasmine rice, and get your chopsticks ready!
- Control the heat by increasing or reducing the number of chopped red chilies in the dish.
SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS?
If you love this recipe, we hope you will try one of these Chinese-inspired meals!
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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 (Sichuan Chicken)
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
- 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.
- 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!
- The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.