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. Besides the giant pandas, of course!
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 & takeaways (takeouts). Fermented soya beans are a very common cooking ingredient in East Asia, from China to Korea to Indonesia, & 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 & up the chillies. Bear in mind that Hoisin sauce is on the sweet side, so a little goes a long way.
You can use any part of the chicken, I love drumsticks for this & feel free to use prawns or pieces of fish instead, adjust cooking time accordingly, seafood needs a much shorter time.
Although I’ve added an egg white here to coat the chicken, I often do without it as my girls are allergic to eggs, so feel free to do so if you’d rather, just the cornflour will suffice.
Be sure to check out my other Chinese recipes for more recipe ideas!
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- 1 tsp sichuan peppercorns , dry roasted, then pounded with a pinch of salt
- 500g chicken wings or drumsticks
- 1 egg white
- 2 tbsp cornflour, mixed in a little water to form a paste
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 clove garlic, sliced width wise
- 2cm/1" ginger, cut in strips
- 1 red chilli, sliced (more or less, to taste)
- half a capsicum (whatever colour), cut in strips
- 2 tbsp hot bean sauce
- 1 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry (replace with half tsp vinegar for alcohol free)
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- 100-200ml water, depending on how wet you'd like the dish to be
- 1-2 tsp chilli oil (optional)
- Mix the egg white & corn flour paste & coat the chicken thoroughly with it.
- Heat the oil in a wok on medium heat & fry the drumsticks up in two batches, 4-5 minutes each side. Don't overcrowd them, you want them frying, not stewing. Also, if your heat is too high, the chicken will brown before the middle is done. 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 & crisping stage.
- Leave about 1 tbsp of cooking oil in the wok & sauté the garlic, ginger & chillies on same heat level for a minute.
- Return the chicken back into the wok & stir to coat.
- Add the hot bean sauce & stir again to coat.
- Add the water, 100ml to begin with, pounded sichuan peppers, wine, capsicum, & simmer on the lowest heat, uncovered, for about 10 more minutes 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.
- Serve immediately, sprinkled with chives. Perfect with plain boiled rice or with egg fried rice.