Chongqing Chicken With Chilies

Looks can be decieving, and while this dish looks fiery hot, it is merely nicely spiced
Contributor

Traditionally, Chongqing chefs cook a whole chicken, bones and all. For a different dinner, try this recipe made with boneless, skinless chicken.

This recipe is courtesy of The Mala Project

Ingredients

  • 1  Pound  skinless chicken (dark or white), cut into small one-inch bites
  • 1  Tablespoon  Shaoxing wine
  • 1  Teaspoon  Chinese light soy sauce
  • 4  Tablespoons  potato starch (or cornstarch)
  • 1  Tablespoon  chili powder (Sichuan or, for a spicier version, cayenne)
  • 1  Tablespoon  ground, roasted Sichuan pepper
  • 1  Teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 4  Tablespoons  oil
  • garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1  Tablespoon  ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2  Tablespoons  chili flakes (Chinese or Korean)
  • 1  Tablespoon  sesame seeds
  • 3  Cups  dried red chilies (Sichuan, Tianjin or other medium-hot chili)
  • 1  Teaspoon  red Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1  Teaspoon  green Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
  • 1  Teaspoon  sugar
  • scallions, roughly chopped

Directions

Marinate chicken pieces in Shaoxing wine and soy sauce while you prepare the other ingredients. Mix potato starch, chili powder, ground Sichuan pepper, and salt in a large sealable bag.

Add the chicken pieces, leaving any accumulated juices behind. Shake the chicken pieces in the potato starch mixture until they are lightly coated. Heat wok on high heat until starting to smoke and add enough canola or vegetable oil to deep-fry the chicken. If your wok or pan is large enough, you can fry it in one batch, but do not overcrowd the chicken. When oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and reduce heat to medium; the frying process should produce a medium bubble. When the chicken pieces appear to be cooked through, remove them from the oil.

Return the oil to a high heat and add back the chicken. This time they should finish frying at a high heat, about 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), with a large, fast bubble. Fry just until the chicken is crispy and golden brown, then remove to drain on a paper towel. Pour off oil, clean wok and return to heat. When wok starts to smoke, add the 4 tablespoons oil. Heat briefly on medium heat, then add the garlic and ginger and cook until softened. Stir-fry vigorously from now on, as you don't want anything to brown. Add the chili flakes and sesame seeds, stirring until lightly toasted, then add the whole chili peppers and Sichuan peppercorns. Stir until fragrant, then add the sugar. Add back the chicken along with the scallions, and stir-fry until well mixed. Plate with chili peppers prominently displayed.

Chicken Shopping Tip

Buy whole chickens and ask the butcher to quarter them for you. You will save an average of $5 per pound, or more.

Chicken Cooking Tip

Allow meat to rest for at least ten minutes before slicing into it; otherwise, the juices will leak out.

Chicken Wine Pairing

Pinot noir, gamay, merlot, zinfandel, carménère, pinotage, or grenache with grilled, roasted, or other simply cooked chicken; chardonnay, pinot gris/grigio, pinot blanc, or chenin blanc with chicken in cream or light tomato sauce or with chicken crêpes or croquettes; sauvignon blanc or sémillon with fried chicken; viognier with spiced chicken dishes.