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Chongqing Chicken Like It's Made in Chongqing

The Mala Market
Author: Taylor Holliday | The Mala Market | Inspiration & Ingredients for Sichuan Cooking


  • 2 dozen or so Sichuan dried chilies (preferably moderately hot lantern chilies or zidantou chilies)
  • 1 pound dark-meat chicken, cut into 1-inch dice (no larger!)
  • skin from 3 chicken thighs (or equivalent amount from other part of chicken), cut in 1-inch squares
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese light soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup neutral cooking oil (or enough to deep-fry)
  • ½ cup caiziyou (Sichuan roasted rapeseed oil)
  • 1 to 1½ tablespoons red or green Sichuan peppercorn (double that if your peppercorns are not fresh and potent)
  • 2 tablespoons Sichuan ground chilies
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons (an 80 gram package) zhacai (pickled mustard tuber), roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno or other fresh green chili, cut in ¼-inch pieces
  • 3 scallions, cut in 1-inch lengths
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon MSG or chicken powder (optional)


  • Prep dried chilies by cutting them in half and letting some seeds fall away. Keep some seeds for heat and fragrance. Keep some chilies whole for looks if you like.
  • Marinate chicken cubes and skin in Shaoxing wine, soy sauce and ½ teaspoon salt at least 15 minutes. Put cornstarch in a plastic baggie and add chicken and skin, shaking off excess liquid beforehand. Toss chicken in the starch until lightly coated.
  • Heat wok on high heat until wisps of heat start to rise and add enough canola, peanut or other neutral oil to deep-fry the chicken, about 1½ cups. When oil is hot, around 375°, add chicken and fry until just golden. Remove and drain on paper towels. Fry chicken in two batches if you need to so you don't overcrowd it.
  • Pour out oil, clean wok and return to low heat. Add caiziyou and Sichuan peppercorns and heat slowly until fragrant. Add Sichuan ground chilies, stirring to make a chili oil. Add garlic, ginger, zhacai, scallion whites and jalapeno and stir-fry until well mixed and fragrant. Add dried chilies and fried chicken to the wok and stir-fry, coating chicken in the oil. Add scallion greens, sugar, salt and MSG. Stir well and remove from heat.