Chongqing Chicken with Chilies 辣子雞

Laziji Chicken with Chilies Recipe
Hello and Happy New Year!

Nothing gets me more excited than kicking off the new year with a pepper head party dish like Chongqing Chicken (yes that’s a dish named after my hometown!).

For those of you love Sichuan cuisine, Chongqing Chicken rarely needs any introduction. For those of you who haven’t heard of this dish, Chongqing Chicken, aka Chinese with Chilies or 辣子雞 LaZiJi in Chinese, is a spicy dish best known for the insane amount of chili pepper used (more on that later), the incredibly aroma, and the dramatic chili pepper to chicken ratio observed by the patrons.
Laziji Chicken with Chilies Recipe
I still remember my first time eating this dish in Mont GeLe Mountain where the dish had just been recently invented. As dinners get seated, a kitchen staff would bring out a live chicken for approval (alternatively, a customer can pick out a chicken from their cage at the back). The chicken is then weighted (the weight is used to calculate the price) and sent back to the kitchen for processing. 30 minutes later, a giant tray of chicken bits buried in a mountainous pile of chili peppers is ushered to the table by two waiters and the spicy feast begins.

Fortunately, for us home cooks, we can skip all the live poultry and all that dramatic entrance and still serve up a delicious plate of chicken that’s equally impressive.
Laziji Chicken with Chilies Recipe
The recipe for Chongqing chicken is actually pretty straightforward. However since there is a large amount of chili pepper on stake, it’s important that you know the spicy level of your peppers. The last thing you want to do is to use super spicy peppers and the dish becomes inedible.
Laziji Chicken with Chilies Recipe
In my demonstration, I use 1.5cup of medium spicy dry chili per 1lb of boneless chicken. This works out pretty well for my palate – the dish is spicy to the point that I can still taste the full flavor of chicken and other spices.

Another important ingredient is five-spice-powder. For this dish I like to make my own spice powder comprised of anise star, sand ginger, fennel, white pepper. If you don’t have whole spices readily available, some store bought five-spice-powder should do the trick as well.
Laziji Chicken with Chilies Recipe
As for the chicken, the traditional recipe always calls for a whole bone-in chicken (live if possible). For demonstration purpose, I opt for boneless chicken tights because a lot of readers aren’t used to handle a whole bone-in chicken and it’s quite messy if one tries to chop a whole chicken without proper tool (aka a bone cleaver). However, if you are already used to eating chicken off the bones, you are more than welcome to use a whole chicken to score the bonus point 🙂
Laziji Chicken with Chilies Recipe
P.S. it’s customary for the customers to take home the leftover chili peppers so they can be re-purposed. After you are done with the chicken, try to use the leftover chili peppers for other spicy dishes such as this fish in spicy chili oil.

Chongqing Chicken with Chilies 辣子雞

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time:30 minutes

Cook Time:25 mintues

Total Time:55 mintues

Make this flavorful Chongqing Chicken with Chilies recipe following this step-by-step recipe at yireservation.com

Ingredients:

  • 2lb Chicken*
  • 2-3 cups Dried chili pepper
  • 1tbsp Sichuan peppercorn
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2inch ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing wine
  • ½ tsp five spice powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 scallion white, minced

Marinate

  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tbsp shaoxing wine
  • 2 slice ginger
  • 1 scallion, cut
  • ½ tsp five spice powder

Directions:

Cut the chicken into 1”x1” cubes. Marinate with all the marinade ingredients for 30 minutes. In the meantime, cut the dried chilies with a pair of scissors into 1”-1.5” segments.Chongqing Chicken with Chilies 辣子雞 RecipeHeat up 3 cups of oil in a wok or skillet. Discard the ginger slices and scallions in the chicken marinade. Add in the chicken cubes. Chongqing Chicken with Chilies 辣子雞 recipeDeep fry the chicken cubes over medium heat until golden brown. About 4-5 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.Chongqing Chicken with Chilies 辣子雞 recipeTransfer the fried chicken to a paper-towel-lined plate. Chongqing Chicken with Chilies 辣子雞 recipeHeat up 2 tbsps of oil in a wok over low heat. Add dried chilies, Sichuan peppercorn, minced ginger, minced garlic, and minced scallion.Chongqing Chicken with Chilies 辣子雞 recipeStir fry everything until aromatic and when dried chilies start to turn dark.Chongqing Chicken with Chilies 辣子雞 recipeAdd fried chicken to the wok and stir fry over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add ½ tsp five spice powder and salt to taste. Serve hot with a bowl of steamed rice.Chongqing Chicken with Chilies 辣子雞 recipe
*traditionally, a whole chicken is used for this dish. I used boneless tight in my demonstration but you can easily adapt this recipe with a whole chicken.

Laziji Chicken with Chilies Recipe

17 comments

  1. 8

    I’ve been looking for an authentic version of this recipe. Can’t wait to give it a try! One of the main staples I get from the Chinese restaurant near my house.

  2. 7

    Did you use chicken breasts or thighs?

  3. 6

    A local Sichuan restaurants sells this dish by the name “Popcorn Chicken”. It really is insanely delicious. 

  4. 5

    Thanks for the recipe! I just made it tonight 😉

  5. 4

    Happy New Year! And what a great dish to start the year — this looks fantastic. I’ve had this in restaurants, but never made it. That’s going to change! Thanks so much.

  6. 3

    o my my…all those chillies…the chicken must be very tasty!

  7. 2

    I am definitely going to try this one. A local restaurant does something similar, buried in dry red peppers, with shrimp, Your five spice powder recipe only has four spices. do you intentionally leave out the cinnamon and substitute white pepper for Sichuan peppercorns? 

    • 2.1

      Hi Jeff, that’s an excellent question. Traditionally, whole spices are used in the stir-fry and cinnamon is not one of them. In my version, I use spice powder instead because I believe the flavor penetrates better. I do have a lot of Sichuan peppercorns in this recipe but they are used as whole. So if you can’t find those 4 individual spices you can certainly use five-spice instead (the hint of cinnamon doesn’t affect the flavor that much). Hope this answers your question.

  8. 1

    Thank you for the bold flavored and bright colored chili dish to start our New Year:)

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