Kou Shui Ji (口水鸡), Sichuan Chicken in Chilli Oil, aka Saliva Chicken!

Kou Shui Ji (口水鸡), Sichuan Chicken in Chilli Oil, aka Saliva Chicken!

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x


Saliva Chicken is a beautiful contrast between the almost bland, lightly poached chicken and the tingly, spicy, slightly tangy chilli oil is so exquisitely vivid, you almost start seeing stars! It enslaves you.



Homemade Sichuan Chilli Oil

  • 250ml (1 cup) vegetable or peanut oil
  • 2 Tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 5 dried Sichuan peppers, torn in half (or any other non-smoked, dried, red chillies)
  • 5cm (2″) ginger, sliced
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), torn in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 handful unsalted, toasted peanuts
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp red chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt

For Poaching the Chicken

  • 4 chicken legs
  • 5cm (2″) ginger, sliced
  • 3 spring onions (scallions), chopped in large pieces
  • 1 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • dash of ground white pepper
  • enough water to cover the ingredients

The Red Sauce Ingredients


  • coriander leaves (cilantro), chopped
  • 1 spring onion (scallions), sliced
  • 1 red chilli, sliced


Let’s Start with Making the Sichuan Chilli Oil

  1. Heat the oil in a small saucepan on low heat and add the Sichuan peppercorns, dried Sichuan peppers, bay leaf, star anise, cinnamon, ginger, spring onions (scallions) and garlic. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, by which time, all the aromatics will be brown-ish and wrinkly.
  2. While waiting for the oil above, crush the peanuts to a coarse grind, either in a chopper or place in a bag and go over with a rolling pin. Or in a pestle and mortar. However you prefer to do it.
  3. Place the crushed peanuts in a large bowl big enough to take the oil that’s cooking away.
  4. Add the sesame seeds, chilli flakes and salt to the bowl of peanuts.
  5. When the oil is done at 10 minutes, immediately strain the very hot oil onto the dry peanut mix, using a metal strainer. Just in case your plastic one isn’t heatproof. Set aside.

Let’s Poach the chicken

  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil and add the ginger, spring onions (scallions), Shaoxing wine, soy sauce and white pepper.
  2. When the water is boiling, put the chicken legs in and bring the water back up to boil on high heat.
  3. As soon as the water is boiling, turn cover the saucepan, turn the heat off and take the saucepan off the hot hob.
  4. Leave the chicken legs to poach for 20 minutes. While the chicken is poaching, we’ll move on to the chilli oil.

Let’s Make the Red Sauce

  1. Place all the sauce ingredients into a medium sized bowl and add 4 tablespoons (more or less, to taste) of the Sichuan chilli oil in and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

Time to Serve up the Saliva Chicken!

  1. Take the chicken out of the poaching liquid, and cut into pieces, on a chopping board, right through the bone. You would have to use a very sharp/big knife like a meat cleaver. Or a sharp knife with a hammer to drive through the bones! Whatever you have that works!
  2. Place the chicken pieces onto individual serving dishes or onto a large serving platter.
  3. Spoon the Sichuan chilli oil sauce all over the chicken, garnish and serve immediately, with some rice and some of the soup made from the poaching liquid.

  • Category: Side dish
  • Cuisine: Chinese