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Chicken Stir Fry with Sichuan Peppercorns

I’ve adapted this recipe from instructor chef Kevin Chuk of the Chinese Cuisine Training Institute in Hong Kong by making it only medium hot. For more heat, increase the amount of chile oil. Sichuan peppercorns add a wonderful aromatic taste.–Grace Young

LC Wok This Way Note

In the spirit of full disclosure, author Grace Young notes that chef Kevin Chuk, who created this recipe, stir-fries using a northern-style wok. Although it’s swell if you, too, wish to wok this way, we’re quite certain this stir-fry will come together just fine no matter what type of wok you rely on. (Those who are intrigued can learn more insider-y info about which way to wok via any of Young’s cookbooks-cum-textbooks, including The Breath of a Wok and Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge.) Oh, and that black rice vinegar mentioned in the recipe below? It lends a complex, smoky taste to anything you dribble it into, including soups, sauces, and stir-fries. Look for it at Asian markets or online, being careful to scrutinize the label to discern that it doesn’t contain caramel flavoring or sugar. You want the real deal here. (Balsamic vinegar will sorta work in its place, lending a similar yet distinctly different depth to the dish.)

Chicken Stir-Fry with Sichuan Peppercorns Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 25 M
  • Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 teaspoons Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinkiang (black rice vinegar) or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile oil
  • 2 tablespoons homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 small dried red chiles
  • 1 teaspoon thinly sliced peeled ginger root
  • 1 small garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon roasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 scallion, chopped

Directions

  • 1. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, 1 teaspoon rice wine, the cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the white pepper. In a small bowl, combine the black soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, chile oil, broth, the remaining 2 teaspoons rice wine, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • 2. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the vegetable oil, add the dried chiles, and carefully add the chicken, spreading it evenly in the wok. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, until the chicken begins to brown. Then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until the chicken is browned on all sides but not cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • 3. Add the ginger, garlic, ground Sichuan peppercorns, and scallion to the dry wok and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Return the chicken to the wok and toss to coat. Stir the sauce mixture and carefully swirl it into the wok and stir-fry 30 seconds or until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened. Remove and discard the chiles. Serve immediately.
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