Sichuan pepper chicken

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By Hedy Khoo

The New Paper

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2013

  • If you think of Sichuan cuisine, you may think of tongue-numbing spiciness.

    Yet one of the province's famous exports - the Facing Heaven chillies - are surprisingly more aromatic than spicy when fried.

    For this week's recipe, I got a packet of these little hotties after a chilli-hunting expedition in Chinatown.

    If you don't wish to go through the trouble, ordinary dried chillies can be used as a substitute.

    However, you won't find a close substitute for Sichuan peppercorns. These are fragrant and not pungently spicy like black or white pepper. They also give a characteristic numbing effect on the tongue.

    Combined, these produce the notorious "ma-la" (numbing and spicy) taste of Sichuan cuisine.

    This week's recipe is moderately hot, but you can increase the amount of chilli and peppercorns if you're questing for fire or just want your dinner guests to weep.

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  • 1 chicken, cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 150g spring onion
  • 20g ginger, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 6 green chillies, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 20g dried chillies
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • Marinade
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tsp rose wine
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • Seasoning
  • 1 tsp ginger juice
  • 2 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame paste
  • 3 tsp black bean sauce
  • 1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1. Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes.
  • 2. Heat enough oil to cover chicken pieces.
  • 3. Deep-fry chicken pieces in three batches until browned.
  • 4. Place in metal colander to drain off excess oil.
  • 5. Deep-fry ginger slices. Remove from wok.
  • 6. Deep-fry garlic slices. Remove from wok.
  • 7. Leave two or three tablespoons of oil in wok and turn heat to low.
  • 8. Add Sichuan peppercorns, dried chillies and green chillies. Fry for a minute then remove from wok.
  • 9. Turn heat up to medium-low, add chicken and seasoning and stir-fry for a minute.
  • 10. Drizzle one tablespoon of wine around the side of the wok, stir-frying continuously.
  • 11. Add the ginger, garlic chilli pepper, Sichuan peppercorns and green chilli.
  • 12. Fry for another 30 seconds then serve immediately.