Super Spicy Szechuan Chicken

3 Oct

First of all, I have to clarify a long-lasting mistake that many Americans hold regarding Chinese food–there is no such dish called “Szechuan Chicken” on any authentic Chinese menu, neither is “Szechuan Beef” and etc. However, there is a well-know Sichuan-style spicy dish called “Spicy Chicken” or “La Zi Ji” in Chinese. The dish was originally invented by chefs in Chongqing, a big city about 300 miles away from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. Technically Chongqing is not part of Sichuan province, but it has always been considered an important origin of Sichuan cuisine.

Back to the spicy chicken, the authentic way of making this super hot dish is to chop home-raised chicken into small pieces with keeping bones in them and pan fry the pieces with a lot of dry pepper until the meat gets dry and crispy. The chicken becomes literally spicy chicken because the meat absorbs all the spicy flavor from the pepper after the juice evaporates. Even for those who claim they can stand with super hot food, they may need some gut to taste the chicken.

My recipe is not for authentic Chinese food lovers but for those who are not lazy enough to just order Chinese takeout and would like to spend some acceptable amount of time to  prepare a decent meal without making their kitchens super messy.

Having said that, I used boneless and skinless chicken thighs. Of course, I need a lot of dry pepper (you can get in any Asian market or you can just use Mexican dry pepper as well). Another ingredient that can really bring the dish to a new level is celery. Other seasonings include sugar, ginger, salt, soy sauce and wine (ideally, Chinese rice wine but you can just use white wine, lousy white wine is totally fine here!) .

The procedure is super easy.

1. pour some vegetable oil on a hot skillet

2. put chicken thighs and 5-6 pieces of gingers onto the skillet and fry them until seeing golden color on both side

3. put 6 tea spoons of sugar, 3 tea spoons of wine, 1 spoon of soy sauce and 1 tea spoon of salt into the pan and stir

4. put roughly chopped dry pepper into the pan (the amount you use depends on how spicy you want)

5. cover the lid and let it cook with mid-mild stove heat for 7-8 mins

6. open the lid and put diced celery and stir

7. Done!

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