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Easy Sichuan Chicken

Hello and welcome! Today we are making Easy Sichuan Chicken. Pretty often I have a craving for Chinese Food, it’s one of the things I miss most about living in San Francisco. There is amazing Asian food in Georgia, the stretch of Buford Highway is famous for its variety and quality of Asian restaurants and markets. Trouble is, it’s a bit too far for me to drive there every time the craving for Chinese food hits. I have learned since starting Djalali Cooks that I can make my favorite Chinese dishes myself, and they are just as satisfying. So let’s get to this Sichuan Chicken!

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On to the Recipe!

We will first let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes. We have dark and light soy sauce, cooking wine, cornstarch, and white pepper. Prep the 6-8 chicken thighs by cutting them into roughly 1-inch pieces.

Toss the chicken in a medium bowl with the dark and light soy sauce, cooking wine, cornstarch, and white pepper. Toss well to coat the chicken and dissolve the cornstarch. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. If you need or want to let it marinate for longer, put the chicken in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it.

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While the chicken is marinating, we can prepare the rest of the ingredients. I have a small handful of dried Thai chiles (10-15 chiles), 2 teaspoons of Sichuan peppercorns, an onion, 4-5 scallions, grated ginger, minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon Gochujang paste, and more cooking wine and light soy sauce.

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I have a spice grinder for the Sichuan peppercorns. You can use a mortar and pestle if you don’t have a spice grinder. Place the 2 teaspoons of peppercorns in the grinder or mortar and grind to a coarse grain. Sichuan peppercorns are actually berries that are harvested and dried. They are not spicy, they have a floral flavor with a numbing quality that tingles your mouth and tongue. When combined with a spicy chile flavor, a unique, addictive sensation occurs. It’s the special hallmark and beauty of Sichuan recipes.

Shallow Fried Sichuan Chicken

We will shallow fry the chicken in 7 tablespoons (one tablespoon less than 1/2 cup) of vegetable or peanut oil. I am doing it in a Dutch oven to avoid too much splatter. Then I have a wire rack set in a sheet tray to catch the cooked chicken and let the excess oil drip off. Heat the oil over medium-high heat.

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When the oil is hot and shimmery, add the chicken several pieces at a time to the hot oil. Let the chicken cook for about 3 minutes before stirring the chicken in the oil. Then just let the chicken cook until done. The chicken pieces are done when they are firm and opaque. About 6-8 minutes total cooking time. Use a spider skimmer to transfer the chicken out of the pot.

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Sichuan Sauce

In a separate pan or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil over high heat. Add the onions and the whole dried chiles. Sauté until the onions are soft and slightly transparent.

Then add the ground Sichuan peppercorns. Stir and sauté for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. The fragrance will be floral. Then add the ginger and garlic, stir and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the green onions, the cooking wine and the soy sauce. Stir the mixture to combine and coat everything in the sauce.

Then add the cooked chicken to the pan and stir to fully combine the chicken with the sauce, onions, and chile mixture.

Remove from heat and we are ready to serve!

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Easy Sichuan Chicken

Serve in a wide shallow bowl with hot steamed rice.

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You can still enjoy this dish even if you don’t go for hot and spicy foods. Just leave out the whole dried chiles. Or cut back on them in the recipe. The whole chiles themselves don’t add a lot of heat, it’s when they break open and the seeds get out that makes the heat. If you’re willing and excited (like me) to play that Scoville roulette, toss in the whole dried chiles and see what happens. If not, you can control the heat by adding just a pinch of red pepper flakes. Or leave it out. As I mentioned above, the Sichuan Peppercorns are not hot spicy, but if you’ve never had them before, be prepared for the numbing effect, which can feel a little like hot spicy because it’s a unique sensation.

As I mentioned earlier, I have really widened my scope when it comes to cooking Chinese restaurant dishes at home. Overcoming the intimidation of cooking excellent Chinese recipes is easy with a little practice and the right ingredients. If you want to try your hand at Chinese food at home, also try Quick and Simple Mongolian Beef, Orange Chicken, Broccoli Beef, or Kung Pao Chicken. Thank you for stopping by today! Take care and be well, xo Kelly

Chinese Ingredients

Because I love Chinese food so much, and make it pretty often, I have collected a few Chinese ingredients that make dishes like this a no-brainer. If you love Chinese food too, I highly recommend getting the following ingredients to have on hand. They all keep in the fridge and pantry for ages, so there’s no reason not to have them if you enjoy cooking Asian recipes.

Easy Sichuan Chicken

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Dinner, Main Course Chinese
By Adapted from Kitchen Sanctuary Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 30 Minutes (includes marinating time) Cooking Time: ~15 Minutes Total Time: ~45 Minutes

Tingly Sichuan peppercorns mingle with whole dried chiles to give a spicy floral flavor to this Easy Sichuan Chicken.

Ingredients

  • Sichuan Chicken Marinade
  • 6-8 boneless chicken thighs, cut into roughly 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp. Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Chinese Cooking Wine
  • 1/4 tsp. White Pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • Sichuan Chicken
  • 7 tbsp. (1 tbsp. less than 1/2 cup) Vegetable or Peanut Oil, for frying the chicken
  • 1 tbsp. Vegetable or Peanut Oil, for sautéing the aromatics and chiles
  • 1 tbsp. Toasted Sesame Oil, for sautéing the aromatics and chiles
  • 1 Onion, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 10-15 Whole Dried Red Chiles
  • 2 tsp. Sichuan Peppercorns, coarse ground
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. Fresh Ginger, grated or minced
  • 4-5 Scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp. Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Chinese Cooking Wine
  • 1 tbsp. Gochujang Paste, or Chili Bean Paste
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar

Instructions

1

Toss the chicken in a medium bowl with the dark and light soy sauce, cooking wine, cornstarch, and white pepper. Toss well to coat the chicken and dissolve the cornstarch. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. If you need or want to let it marinate for longer, put the chicken in the fridge until you're ready to cook it.

2

Set up your shallow fry station with 7 tablespoons of vegetable or peanut oil in a Dutch oven to avoid too much splatter. Then set a wire rack in a sheet tray to catch the cooked chicken and let the excess oil drip off. Heat the oil over medium-high heat.

3

When the oil is hot and shimmery, add the chicken several pieces at a time to the hot oil. Let the chicken cook for about 3 minutes before stirring the chicken in the oil. Then just let the chicken cook until done. The chicken pieces are done when they are firm and opaque. About 6-8 minutes total cooking time. Use a spider skimmer to transfer the chicken out of the pot.

4

In a separate pan or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil over high heat. Add the onions and the whole dried chiles. Sauté until the onions are soft and slightly transparent.

5

Then add the ground Sichuan peppercorns. Stir and sauté for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. The fragrance will be floral. Then add the ginger and garlic, stir and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the green onions, the cooking wine and the soy sauce. Stir the mixture to combine and coat everything in the sauce.

6

Then add the cooked chicken to the pan and stir to fully combine the chicken with the sauce, onions, and chile mixture.

7

Remove from heat and serve with steamed rice.

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  • Mari
    September 28, 2022 at 9:42 am

    This will be very popular at my house. We frequently ordered Chinese food in the past, but with gradients to avoid, saltiness, a d msg to be wary of, with my kids being sensitive to it, we had pretty much given up on it. Kelly to the rescue! Thank you for this one. It looks wonderful, and I will let you know how it went and if we have leftover. I’m going to guess no! Around here that’s a safe guess. Ordering out is increasingly expensive, so making it at home is a much better option. Ian the hurricane looks to be more dangerous than expected. At work everyone initially made references to my son, but the fun has fizzled as we all worry about Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Stay safe and God bless.

    • Kelly Djalali
      September 28, 2022 at 11:30 am

      Thanks Mari, we are keeping a close eye on the hurricane, especially its trajectory and strength as it hits the east coast of Georgia in a couple days. I am sure this recipe will be a winner at your house! Keep me posted! xo Kelly

  • Sylvia Espinoza
    September 28, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    Hi, Kelly 🌻 Yet another fascinating recipe. Learned today that ingredients for seasoning keep well in the pantry or fridge. As I’ve stood gazing at Asian food ingredients in the grocery store, wondered if wise to buy and store. As Mari stated, Kelly to the rescue! Will buy now. Prayer for safety and peace for everyone affected by Ian. Our hearts are with you! 🧡🙏🧡

    • Kelly Djalali
      September 28, 2022 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Sylvia, Yes go ahead and buy these ingredients. Just like American vinegars and sauces, they keep just fine. Read the label for whether or not to refrigerate after opening. Thank you for stopping by today, it’s great to hear from you. Take care, xo Kelly

  • Terry
    September 28, 2022 at 4:03 pm

    Good afternoon kelly, I just ordered all the stuff I need to make this so I’ll keep you posted I plan on making it Sunday … stay safe keep me posted ❤️🤗 mom

    • Kelly Djalali
      September 28, 2022 at 9:58 pm

      Sounds good, Mom. I am sure you will enjoy it! xo Kelly

  • Sally Burke
    September 29, 2022 at 2:43 am

    Hi Kelly, all ingredients except meat are available in our pantry, another recipe to add to my collection of Gochujang paste uses. I finally found the Sichuan peppercorns in one of our supermarkets recently, and I do like spicy, but not too much so, particularly recently as I am finding a lot of foods make me cough as they catch in my throat, spices, vinegar, cereal, chocolate are the worst. Anyway, forgetting that I am happy to try anything once, and I do need to use up these ingredients. I will give this a go next week. Trusting by the time Ian gets to you it will have abated a lot, I did look it up and you are not that far from Sanford Florida, just over 400 miles, so I guess there will be a lot of strong winds coming your way. Take care and prayers for you and your family
    Happy cooking 🧑‍🍳
    Sally 🤗

    • Kelly Djalali
      September 29, 2022 at 7:28 am

      Thank you, Sally. We have the news on and are paying close attention to Ian as it makes it way north. You might really like the Sichuan peppercorns, since they are floral and have that numbing quality, they’re not really spicy. Give it a go and do let me know what you think! xo Kelly