Chongqing chicken is a Chinese dish from Chongqing, which is located in the Sichuan province known for its spicy fare. Typically Chongqing chicken is coated in a light batter and deep-fried in oil. I like this lighter recipe, however, which is based on one published in Eating Well magazine. The chicken here is stir-fried but not deep-fried in oil. Serve it with steamed rice.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 Tbsp Shao Hsing (also called Shaoxing) rice wine or dry sherry, divided
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 3 Tbsp canola oil, divided
- 4 scallions, whites halved lengthwise and greens thinly sliced, divided
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tsp. Sichuan chili-bean paste
- 1 cup whole dried Asian red chiles or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 Tbsp whole Sichuan peppercorns
- ½ tsp. sugar
- ½ tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. sesame seeds, lightly toasted
- 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 of canola 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. 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. Do not eat the whole dried chili peppers.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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