Chongqing Chicken with chilies (or chongqing la zi ji –重庆辣子鸡) might look a bit intimidating but it really isn`t. The amount chili seems too much but they bring just the right kind of spiciness. The dish is quick and easy to make, the end result is super crispy, hot, numbing, garlicky, gingery, oniony fried goodness. Finger-licking good, for sure, if you forgot your chopsticks. Follow the recipe and let us know bellow what you thought about it!
- 450 grams skinless dark-meat chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tablespoon Chinese light soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons potato starch or corn starch
- 1 tablespoon cayenne or Sichuan chili powder
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground, roasted Sichuan pepper
- 1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ cups peanut or canola oil
- 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced ginger
- 2 tablespoons Sichuan ground chilies
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- At least 3 cups whole dried red Sichuan chilies (snip some in half and include seeds for a spicier version)
- 2 teaspoons red Sichuan peppercorns (or 1 teaspoon red and 1 teaspoon green Sichuan peppercorns)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 scallions, roughly chopped, whites and greens separated
- Marinate chicken pieces in Shaoxing wine and soy sauce while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Mix corn starch, cayenne chili powder, ground Sichuan pepper and salt in a large sealable baggie. 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 wisps of smoke start to rise and add enough canola or vegetable oil to deep-fry the chicken, about 1½ cups. 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, frying at around 350°. When the chicken pieces appear to be cooked through, remove them from the oil to rest on paper towels. Return the oil to a high heat and add back the chicken in two batches, so they are not at all crowded. This time they should finish frying at a high heat, about 375°F, with a large, fast bubble. Fry just until the chicken is crispy and golden brown, then remove to drain on paper towels.
- Pour off oil to a bowl, clean the wok and return to heat. When hot, add back 4 tablespoons of the frying 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, Sichuan peppercorns and scallion whites. Stir until fragrant, then add the sugar.
- Add back the chicken along with the scallion greens, and stir-fry until well mixed. Plate with chili peppers prominently displayed.