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The Hirshon Sichuan Chongqing Chili Chicken –重庆辣子鸡

  • Total Time: 0 hours


Units Scale
  • For the chicken/marinade:
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, or use an equivalent amount of breast meat if you prefer (I do)
  • Skin from 3 chicken thighs (or equivalent amount from other part of chicken), cut in 1-inch squares
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon peanut or corn oil
  • For Dredging:
  • 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For the rest of the dish:
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
  • 5 slices peeled ginger, julienned
  • 7 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 cup whole dried red chilies – this dish won’t actually be that spicy, unless you break open some of the dry hot peppers. If you do like the dish spicy, break open no more than six peppers
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 scallions, one chopped and one cut into shreds
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons chopped zha cai (pickled mustard tuber)
  • 1/4 teaspoon MSG or chicken powder (as in China, but optional)
  • Peanut or Corn oil for deep frying, about 3 cups
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil for garnish
  • Extra freshly-ground Sichuan peppercorns to taste for garnish


  1. Rinse the chicken and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken to a bowl and toss with the marinade ingredients. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat wok on high heat until wisps of heat start to rise and add enough canola or peanut oil to deep-fry the chicken, about 1½ cups. When oil is hot, around 350°, add chicken skin pieces and fry until they are just starting to turn golden. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
  3. In a large bowl or plate, mix together the cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Dredge the chicken meat in cornstarch mixture and shake off the excess cornstarch.
  4. Heat the 3 cups of peanut or vegetable oil in your wok until it registers 350°F on an instant-read oil thermometer.
  5. Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the first batch of chicken cubes and fry until golden brown on the outside and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
  6. Drain the oil into a heatproof container and save for discarding. Wipe the wok with a paper towel to remove any brown bits, but don’t wash.
  7. Heat the wok over medium low heat, add 3 tablespoons of oil and add the Sichuan peppercorns. Let them toast for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the ginger and garlic, and cook for 1 minute.
  8. Add the whole dried chilies, and stir for another minute. Monitor the heat levels to avoid burning.
  9. Turn up the heat to high, and add the chicken, Shaoxing wine, MSG or chicken powder, sugar, chicken skin, zha cai and chopped scallion.
  10. Continue to stir-fry, until any liquid in the wok has evaporated. Just before serving, add sesame oil, extra ground Sichuan peppercorn and shredded scallion – toss.
  11. Serve with lots of steamed jasmine rice and a veggie on the side! Try garlic broccoli or bok choy.
  • Prep Time: 0 hours
  • Cook Time: 0 hours

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