Go Back

Mouthwatering "Saliva Chicken" (Koushuiji, 口水鸡)

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


  • 2 pounds chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup chili oil (with lots of flakes)
  • 4 tablespoons chicken juices from steaming, cooled
  • 3 tablespoons Zhenjiang rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese sesame paste
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan pepper oil
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan pepper (see note)
  • Garnish of crushed roasted peanuts, roasted sesame seeds and scallion


  • Wash and dry chicken and place in a bowl or dish such as a pie plate that fits in your steamer. Pour 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine over the chicken. Mix grated ginger and salt to make a paste and spread it over the chicken and under its skin. When the water begins to steam, carefully place the bowl in the steamer and cover. Steam for about 30 minutes, then prick the chicken with a sharp knife to make sure the juices run clear and not pink or bloody. When just cooked through, remove chicken pieces from the bowl and let cool. Reserve the chicken juices.
  • Mix together the ingredients for the sauce: chili oil with flakes, chicken juices, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, sesame paste, sesame oil, Sichuan pepper oil and ground Sichuan pepper. Taste and adjust if needed.
  • Cut chicken off the bone in slices or large bite-size pieces. Arrange in a serving bowl that holds them fairly snugly. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with crushed peanuts, sesame seeds and scallions. Serve at room temperature. Eat by plucking the chicken out of the sauce.


Ground Sichuan pepper: Sort Sichuan peppercorns and discard any black seeds or twigs. Toast in a dry skillet or toaster oven until pods start to smell very fragrant, but do not brown them. Let peppercorns cool, then grind in a spice grinder or in a mortar & pestle to your desired coarseness. Sift out any yellow husks that don't break down. Sichuan pepper powder will retain its potent flavor and numbing punch for only a few weeks.