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how to make szechuan chicken


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Servings: 4


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Step 1

Make the marinade. Place 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 3/4 teaspoon white pepper in a medium bowl and whisk to combine and dissolve the cornstarch.

Step 2

Marinate the chicken. Cut 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken into 1-inch chunks, add to the marinade, and toss to combine; set aside.

Step 3

Prepare the aromatics for the stir-fry. Cut the dark green parts of 4 medium scallions into 1 1/2-inch pieces (reserve the whites) and place in a small bowl. Prepare the following, placing them all in the same small bowl: thinly slice the scallion whites crosswise, mince 3 garlic cloves, peel and mince a 1-inch piece of ginger until you have 1 tablespoon, and coarsely crush 1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or with the bottom of a frying pan. Add 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds to the bowl.

Step 4

Fry the chiles. Heat a flat-bottomed wok or large frying pan over high heat until very hot (a flick of water should sizzle and evaporate right away), about 2 minutes. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil into the pan. Add 15 to 20 dried Asian chiles (depending on the desired heat level) and fry until toasted and darkened in color, 30 to 45 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chiles to a small plate (it’s okay if some seeds are left behind in the pan).

Step 5

Sear the chicken and crumble the chiles. Return the pan to high heat. Add the chicken and spread into an even layer. Let cook undisturbed until golden-brown and seared on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, break each fried chile in half with your hands (they may crumble into smaller pieces).

Step 6

Finish stir-frying the chicken with the chiles. Return the chiles and their seeds to the pan and stir-fry the chicken with a flat metal spatula until just cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes more.

Step 7

Cook the aromatics. Push the chicken to one half of the pan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the other side. Add the Szechuan peppercorn mixture to the oil and stir to coat in the oil. Stir fry with the chicken until combined and fragrant, about 1 minute.

Step 8

Finish the stir-fry. Add the scallion greens and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Stir-fry until everything is evenly combined, about 1 minute. Serve immediately over steamed rice if using.

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