Chongqing Chicken

Chongqing Chicken

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From: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2018

Traditionally, Chongqing chicken is made by encasing the meat in crunchy batter, like popcorn chicken but better. To make it at home, we decided to mimic the effect with a simple cornstarch dredge and just a little oil, sparing you both time and the stress of deep-frying. Practiced eaters focus their chopsticks on the meat, avoiding the many chiles and Sichuan peppercorns that give the dish its tongue-tingling character, but we encourage you to risk the lovely agony.

Ingredients 4 servings

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Original recipe yields 4 servings
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  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons Shao Hsing rice wine (see Tips) or dry sherry, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 4 scallions, whites halved lengthwise and greens thinly sliced, divided
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan chili-bean paste (see Tips)
  • 1 cup whole dried Asian red chiles or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon whole Sichuan peppercorns (see Tips)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted


  • Prep

  • Ready In

  1. Combine chicken and 2 tablespoons rice wine (or sherry) in a medium bowl; let marinate for 15 minutes. Pat the chicken dry, then combine with cornstarch and salt and toss to coat.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large flat-bottomed wok over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken in a single layer and cook, turning only once, until golden brown and crispy, 1 to 3 minutes per side. (Use caution, the oil may splatter a bit.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the wok and reduce heat to medium. Add scallion whites, ginger, garlic and chili-bean paste and cook, stirring frequently, until the scallions are softened, about 1 minute. Add chiles (or crushed red pepper) and peppercorns and cook, stirring frequently, until the chiles are very fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Return the chicken to the wok and add sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon rice wine (or sherry). Cook, stirring constantly, until the chicken is hot and well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in scallion greens and sesame oil. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds.
  • Tips: Also known as Shaoxing, Shao Hsing is a seasoned rice wine used in Chinese cooking. Look for it in Asian markets or with other Asian ingredients in well-stocked supermarkets. Dry sherry is a good substitute.
  • Sichuan bean paste, sometimes called Pixian chili bean paste (doubanjiang), is a fermented condiment made from fava beans and er jin tiao chiles. It adds a spicy, salty, earthy flavor. Find it at Asian supermarkets or buy online.
  • Despite the name, Sichuan peppercorns (reddish-brown dried berry husks used in Chinese and Southeast Asian cooking) aren't related to black, white or chile peppers. And, instead of making your mouth burn, they make it a little numb and tingly. Look for them at Asian markets or online.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: ¾ cup
  • Per serving: 286 calories; 18 g fat(3 g sat); 1 g fiber; 7 g carbohydrates; 20 g protein; 15 mcg folate; 104 mg cholesterol; 1 g sugars; 1 g added sugars; 264 IU vitamin A; 4 mg vitamin C; 29 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 597 mg sodium; 275 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: ½
  • Exchanges: 3 lean protein, 2 fat

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