La zi ji is a dish that is prettttty popular among Sichuan food lovers, and I can see why! Who wouldn’t like fried chicken pieces nested in tons of hot peppers? (Okay, maybe not people who don’t like spicy…) In addition to frying the chicken, most restaurant versions of this dish also coat the chicken in quite a bit of cornstarch, so then it’s like half cornstarch coating and half chicken.
I really don’t like deep frying in our apartment, because it splatters grease everywhere, and it uses up a bunch of oil, and it makes me feel guilty when I eat the food. Of course, there are obvious exceptions to this rule, but for the most part I don’t make fried foods as a habit. By pan-frying the chicken instead of deep frying, it makes la zi ji a rather simple dish to make to satisfy spicy food cravings while not splurging so much on calories.
I realized that I really like to eat this dish by getting a piece of chicken, followed by a piece of pepper (with rice, of course). Sometimes a piece of Sichuan peppercorn will also make it to the mix, for a true ma (numbing) la (spicy) taste 🙂