Aromatic fried chilli chicken

Aromatic fried chilli chicken

The Real Food of China
Leanne Kitchen

The streets of Sichuanese towns are infused with the fragrance of smoky, wok-fried dried chillies and freshly toasted Sichuan peppercorns, known as hua jiao, or ‘flower pepper’. The peppercorns are an intriguing mix of fragrant heat and mouth-numbing spice and are used to great effect in this classic dish. This recipe is based on the well-known dish, lazi jiding, which traditionally comes to the table slathered in a sea of crisp-fried dried chillies. You’re not expected to eat these, they merely impart an earthy flavour to the proceedings.


Quantity Ingredient
5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
potato flour, for dusting
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ginger, finely chopped
50g dried red chillies, cut into thirds, seeds discarded
1 1/2 tablespoons sichuan peppercorns, coarsely ground
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons shaoxing rice wine
1 teaspoon sugar
4 spring onions, cut into 4 cm lengths


Quantity Ingredient
3 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons shaoxing rice wine
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped


  1. Trim the excess fat off the thighs and cut the chicken into 1.5 cm pieces. To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Add the chicken, toss to coat in the marinade, then cover and refrigerate for 3–4 hours. Drain the chicken pieces, then dust well in potato flour, shaking o the excess.
  2. Fill a wok one-third full of oil and heat to 180°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns deep golden in 15 seconds. Add the chicken in batches and cook for 4–5 minutes, or until light golden and cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
  3. Pour off all but about 60 ml of oil from the wok, and reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic, ginger, chillies and ground peppercorns and stir-fry for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Return the chicken to the wok, increase the heat slightly, then add the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar and spring onions. Toss for about 2 minutes, or until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and the chicken is heated through, then serve immediately.
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