This Sichuan chicken recipe is my version of the standard sichuan chicken takeaway recipe. But it’s so much more flavoursome, and has a much deeper flavour that your watery, insipid Chinese takeout fare!
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Table of contents
There are so many recipes out there for Szechuan Chicken or Sichuan Chicken, there really is no right or wrong. Sichuan is an area in South West China known for its more flavourful and spicy cuisine, compared to the rest of the country. I have quite a few Sichuan recipes on LinsFood, as you’ll see at the end of this post.
Sichuan Chicken Recipe
This recipe uses hot bean sauce, which is fermented soya beans mixed with chillies and produces that particular Sichuan Chicken you get at Chinese restaurants and takeaways (takeouts). Fermented soya beans are a very common cooking ingredient in East Asia, from China to Korea to Indonesia, and comes in various forms, with or without chilli.
You should be able to find it fairly easily in a well stocked Oriental food store, otherwise, substitute it with Black/Brown Bean Sauce or Paste or Hoisin sauce and increase the chillies. Bear in mind that Hoisin sauce is on the sweet side, so a little goes a long way.
What Chicken Parts to Use?
You can use anything you like. Chicken thighs and drumsticks are perfect for this, the darker meat takes on the strong flavours beautifully. However, if you fancy leaner chicken breast, by all means, you can use that too.
Can you use beef for this? Absolutely. And even seafood.
Sichuan peppercorns are actually the husks of aromatic berries. You get a tingling sensation on your tongue when you eat them, which allows you to enjoy the typically spicy dishes found in Sichuan cuisine. Click here to read more about them.
Chinese Chilli Oil
Chinese Chilli oil is a delicious, sometimes spicy, combination of oil and crispy bits that can be used as a condiment, a garnish and an ingredient. It is easily available ate East Asian stores, and certainly online. We finish our Sichuan Chicken with a drizzle of this.
The “crispy bits” that has resulted in the American trend of calling it chili crisp, can be just the chilli flakes or it can be nuts, seeds, onions, garlic, shrimp and dried anchovies. Anything you fancy. I have a few recipes for chilli oil on this site, if you fancy homemade, click here for the simplest version.
And now, shall we get cooking?
More Sichuan Recipes
- 1 tsp sichuan peppercorns
- 1 egg white
- 2 Tbsp cornflour cornstarch, mixed in a little water to form a paste
- 500 g chicken thighs off the bone 750g on the bone (roughly)
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic sliced width wise
- 2.5 cm ginger cut in strips
- 1 red chilli sliced (more or less, to taste)
- ½ capsicum bell pepper, whatever colour, cut in strips
- 3 Tbsp hot bean sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice wine or dry sherry replace with ½ tsp vinegar for alcohol free
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- 125 ml water more, if you need it
- 2 tsp Chinese chilli oil
Marinate the Chicken
- Mix the egg white and cornflour paste and coat the chicken thoroughly with it.
Prepping the Sichuan Peppercorns
- Dry roast the sichuan peppercorns on low heat for 2-3 minutes in a frying pan. That means no oil.
- Then pound them with a pinch of salt using a pestle and mortar, or in a small chopper. You want a coarse grind.
Let's get Cooking
- Heat the oil in a wok on medium heat and fry the drumsticks up in two batches, about 5 minutes each batch, turning the chicken. Don't overcrowd them, you want them frying, not stewing. Set aside. Don't worry too much if the chicken doesn't look quite done, we'll be cooking it further, this is only the browning and crisping stage.
- Leave about 1 Tbsp of cooking oil in the wok and sauté the garlic, ginger and chillies on same heat level for a minute.
- Return the chicken back into the wok and stir to coat.
- Add the hot bean sauce and stir again to coat.
- Add the water, pounded sichuan peppers, wine and capsicum and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat right down, and cook, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes more until the chicken is completely done. This extra cooking time also allows the meat to absorb all the flavours. Add more water if necessary.
- At the end of cooking time, check seasoning, if you need more salt, add the soy sauce. If you'd like more sauce, add a little more water.
- Serve immediately, sprinkled with chives. Perfect with plain boiled rice or with egg fried rice.