Some like hot: Spicy Diced Chicken with Chilies, a taste of Sichuan cuisine

Spicy Diced Chicken with Chilies, or Laziji (辣子雞), is a popular dish in Sichuan Cuisine. Anyone who has spent enough time in good Sichuan restaurants is bound to eventually try a dish listed as Chongqing chicken, Sichuan chicken with chilies, wok-fried chicken, or a number of similar names.

It consists of marinated, deep-fried pieces of chicken, stir-fried with Sichuan pickled chili peppers, or chili bean paste (doubanjiang).

Serve the dish with plain white rice and any other dishes you fancy.

 

Ingredients:

  • Young whole chicken (or chicken leg)
  • Celtuce (or cucumber)
  • Sichuan pickled chili pepper
  • Scallion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Salt
  • Starch powder
  • Soy sauce
  • Soup stock

 

Directions:

  1. Debone young whole chicken or chicken leg. Tenderize the meat and dice into cubes.
  2. Marinate chicken with salt, soy sauce, and starch.
  3. Dice celtuce root into similar size cubes.%e8%be%a3%e5%ad%90%e9%9b%9e%e4%b8%81-eng-3
  4. Mince pickled chili pepper.%e8%be%a3%e5%ad%90%e9%9b%9e%e4%b8%81-eng-4
  5. Deep fry chicken and pickled chili pepper on medium heat until meat is partially cooked.
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  6. Turn heat to high and add ginger, garlic, scallions, and celtuce to the work and stir-fry.%e8%be%a3%e5%ad%90%e9%9b%9e%e4%b8%81-eng-7

 

Celtuce:

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Celtuce, is also called stem lettuce, celery lettuce, asparagus lettuce, or Chinese lettuce. It is crisp, moist, and mildly flavored, and typically prepared by slicing and then stir-frying with more strongly flavored ingredients.

When you don’t have celtuce, you can use cucumber as substitute in this dish.

 

Young Chicken:%e8%be%a3%e5%ad%90%e9%9b%9e%e4%b8%81-eng-1

This recipe is a specialty of Geleshan (Gele Mountain) in Chongqing. There, they use young free-range chickens, these small birds can be cut into the dainty little pieces that will sizzle and become crispy and fragrant in the deep-frying oil. If you can’t find young chicken, used boned chicken thigh meat instead.

 

Story:

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Laziji or chicken with chilies was discovered back in 1921, inside a small eatery near Chongqing’s hilly forest park Geleshan. The recipe emerged from a dialog between the cook and his apprentice: “What to do, quickly, with a small chicken?”

The solution was quick indeed: chop the bird, legs first, deep-fry and lay aside; garlic, ginger, peppercorns, chilies, sugar, salt. Toss and serve. Exquisitely simple, but the devilish flavor is in the details. Chongqing restaurateurs used small free-range chickens from nearby farms. This poultry became a signature export for Geleshan.

In the 1990s, Laziji enjoyed an obsessive boom in popularity; there is a whole street in downtown Chongqing dedicated to the dish.

 
 
 
 

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