Introduction: Sichuan Chili Chicken
I love spicy food and this recipe is one of my favorite dishes. Sichuan or Szechwan food is a type of Chinese food that is spicy and super flavorful. Where as typical Chinese restaurant food more commonly known in North America has it's roots based in Cantonese style Chinese food, which has more subtle flavors.
This dish makes use of really aromatic ingredients to help complement the greasiness of the deep fried chicken. What makes this dish special is the sichuan peppercorns. This spice adds a unique flavor and also a numbing effect on your taste buds, paired with lots of spicy chilies the flavors really give your tongue a workout!
You can add as much or as little spicy as you can handle but I really recommend turning up the spicy level.
History: I first tried this dish at a small hole in the wall Chinese restaurant that has since closed, since then I have tried this dish many times at other restaurants. But non have been as good as that first restaurant so I set out trying to reproduce this dish at home to enjoy. I came up with this recipe after researching books and scouring the internet and attempting this dish numerous times. I think this version is a good representation of that first restaurant I originally this dish.
Step 1: Ingredients
- 4-6 Chicken thighs with the skin, boned and cubed into 1/2" pieces
- Canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp White Pepper
- 2 tsp Light Soy Sauce
- A few Thai Chili Peppers (optional, add if you really want to add spicy to the dish)
- Small Piece of Ginger Peeled and Julienne
- Large Onion Roughly Chopped
- Diced Green Onions
- Sichuan Peppercorns (2 tbls ground and 2 tbls whole peppercorns)
- 2 tbls Red Pepper Flakes or Crushed Chili Peppers
- 2 Cups Chopped Whole Dried Chilis
- 6 Cloves Garlic Diced
- 2 tbls Oyster Sauce
- 3 tbls Cornstarch
- 2 tbls Flour
Step 2: Video
Check out my video, the written directions follow
Step 3: Method
- Marinate the chicken cubes with some canola oil, white pepper and light soy sauce. Let marinade for an hour or longer.
- Before deep frying the chicken, add 3 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoon flour to the chicken. Mix well until all pieces are coated evenly.
- Heat up some canola oil or other vegetable oil to around 350 degrees F. Add the chicken pieces to the hot oil and stir to keep the pieces from sticking to each other. Once the chicken starts floating and the skin gets crispy and turns a golden brown remove from oil. Set aside.
- In a large wok or deep pan over high heat add some canola oil, add onions and fry for a minute, reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic, ginger, thai chilis. Stir fry for another minute then add the oyster sauce.
- Add the sichuan peppercorns, chili pepper flakes and dried chilies. Stir fry over medium heat for a minute.
- Add the fried chicken bits and combine.
- Stir the combined mixture until evenly mixed. We want to get spices on every piece of chicken. Right before removing from the heat, add the green onions and mix.
- The oyster sauce is very salty, taste and if it needs more salt add now.
- Remove from heat and plate!
- You want to make sure you stir fry the dish right after you fry the chicken to maintain maximum crispiness of the chicken pieces.
- Serve with rice