Sichuan Chengdu Stir-fried Chicken
Sichuan Chengdu Chicken
What are Sichuan Peppercorns?
Sichuan Chengdu Chicken
Chengdu (formerly Chengtu) is the capital of Sichuan Province in Southwest China. It is also the home of the Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base, which is responsible for trying to preserve this endangered species.
This fiery dish uses dried chilies, Sichuan peppercorns, cayenne pepper and Sichuan chili bean sauce to give it a kick.
It differs from Kung Pau chicken in several other respects. Instead of boneless, skinless chicken breasts it only removes the bones but leaves the skin on. Instead of using peanuts, red bell peppers are added and I also like to add bamboo shoots. As usual, you can adjust the heat to suit your own taste.
To get chicken breasts with skin but no bone there is a fairly simple technique. Buy whole chicken breasts and place them on a cutting board skin side up with the breastbone perpendicular to you. Then with a small sharp knife, cut down right next to the breastbone and gently cut and scrape the breast meat away from the bones.
Turn the breast 180 degrees and do the same thing on the other half. If you have a good butcher he will do it for you if you ask him to. Don’t forget to save the bones to make chicken stock. You can freeze them until you are ready.
2 Whole Chicken Breast with the skin on and the bones removed cut into one-inch squares.
1 Cup of Oil
1 Dried Chili Pepper cut into small pieces
1 Teaspoon Minced Ginger Root
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
3 scallions cut into pea sized pieces including the green
½ Teaspoon of Flower Peppercorn Powder
1 Tablespoon Sichuan Sweet Bean Sauce
2 Teaspoons Sichuan Chili Bean Sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese Red Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dry White Wine
1 Tablespoon Black Soy Sauce
½ Teaspoon Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
½ Cup Chicken Broth
1 Red Bell Pepper cut into one-inch squares
½ Cup Bamboo Shoots cut into small squares ¼ inch thick
2 Teaspoons Cornstarch mixed with 2 Teaspoons Water
- Heat one cup of oil in a heavy frying pan and cook the chicken squares, skin side down until the skin is crisp and golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Remove all but two tablespoons of oil and stir-fry the chili pepper, ginger, garlic, scallions and peppercorn powder for about a minute over medium heat and then stir in the sauce mixture.
- Add the bell pepper and the bamboo shoots, mix well and cook for ten minutes covered until the peppers soften.
- Finally, stir in the cornstarch water and cook until it thickens. Serve over steamed rice.
If you are reluctant to eat chicken skin, you can use boneless, skinless chicken, but you will sacrifice some of the flavor. As usual, you can eliminate the chili pepper and the cayenne if you don’t like heat, but not the Sichuan peppercorns and chili bean paste.
Kung Pao Chicken
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