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.
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.
3 lean protein, 2 fat