I decided to see what would happen if I added all the ingredients I liked together in a pot with chicken. So, I seriously just added a little bit of this, a little bit of that, tried to think what else would go with what, and went with it. The outcome? A new favorite! I don’t know if any real Sichuan person would nod his/her head in approval, or shake it in dismay, but I used components of what I know to star in Sichuan dishes, like chili peppers and peppercorns. Anyhow, this was my tribute to Sichuan in the form of a chicken dish. I want to name it Lee Family Spicy Chicken, because Tim has upping his spicy game, and can now eat from the same spicy dishes as the big kids (like me :D).
I like this dish a lot, not only because it is spicy and low maintenance ( just like me 😉 ), but because the ingredients are fairly standard ABC kitchen ingredients. For me, I happened to have all of these ingredients in my kitchen. Your mileage may vary, but the good thing is that these ingredients keep well, especially if you take my advice from a previous post and freeze your ginger! For some pictures of ingredients not commonly found at American grocery stores, visit this post on Sichuan spicy cooked fish to see what all these things are.
Our dinner comprised of this chicken, in addition to stir-fried cabbage (that I made without the spicy peppers), and lots of rice.
Megan’s Spicy Chicken
2 lbs bone-in, skin-on dark meat chicken, cut into pieces
2 tsp oil (optional; see note)
4 scallions, sliced or broken into 3 inch lengths
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2″ slice of ginger
1 fresh chili pepper, sliced (optional)
2 tsp fennel seeds
5+ dried red peppers (as you wish)
2 tsp whole Sichuan peppercorns
2 star anise
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp la dou ban jiang
1 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Shaoxing wine
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Chinkiang vinegar
1 cup water
Additional scallions, finely chopped
Additional thinly sliced fresh chili peppers
ground Sichuan peppercorns
1) Add oil (if you are using skinless chicken) to a heavy-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven. On medium-low heat, cook the chicken until it changes color all around the outside. The oil from the skin should start to render at this point. Remove chicken from the pot onto a bowl or plate.
2) Lower the heat. Add aromatics: scallions through star anise (inclusive), and stir occasionally as the oil wakes up the spices and brings the fragrance out of all the ingredients. When you start to smell all the spices and aromatics, add the la dou ban jiang and stir it around until it also gets fragrant.
3) Add the chicken and accumulated juices back to the pot, and stir well to coat the chicken with all the ingredients in the pot.
4) Add soy sauce, wine, vinegar, and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low until the meat starts to pull away from the bone, about 10-20 minutes, depending on how large your chicken pieces are.
-I used skin-on chicken because I often just buy whole chickens and break them down myself. If you use skin-on chicken, you don’t need to add extra oil, but if you use skinless chicken, be sure to add 1-2 tsp in the first step.
-I don’t mind and actually enjoy biting into whole, cooked Sichuan peppercorns. If you don’t, consider using a mesh strainer to fish them out, along with the anise, before eating it. Alternatively, put the peppercorns and anise in cheesecloth so that you can remove it later.
-I enjoy this dish with rice, but also think it would be excellent with noodles.
-This tastes even better the next day, like chili! Feel free to make this ahead of time, or even make big batches and freeze leftovers.
-For leftovers, I like to add in some rolling blade-sliced (gun3dao1) 滚刀 (or just diced) slender eggplants.