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.

Source: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2018


Recipe Summary

40 mins
40 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Facts

3/4 cup
286 calories; protein 20g; carbohydrates 7.4g; dietary fiber 0.6g; sugars 1.4g; fat 17.9g; saturated fat 2.7g; cholesterol 104.1mg; vitamin a iu 264.5IU; vitamin c 3.5mg; folate 14.7mcg; calcium 29.1mg; iron 1.3mg; magnesium 26.5mg; potassium 275mg; sodium 596.5mg; added sugar 1g.

3 lean protein, 2 fat