Most Chinese food lovers are probably aware that Sichuan cuisine is well known for its spicy dishes, but Chongqing (Chunking) has many famous spicy dishes as well, such as Chongqing chicken.
Similar to Sichuan cuisine, Chongqing cuisine also uses plenty of dried red chilies and Sichuan peppercorns, so be prepared for some numbness and hotness, and be ready with a pack of tissue or even towel to wipe that sweat away.
Use chicken breast or whole chicken
If you have tried true Chinese dishes, you will probably realize that chicken will always be served with bone-in, never boneless or skinless.
I am taking a liberal short cut here by using skinless boneless chicken breast, so if you want to make this as original as possible, get your butcher to chop up a whole chicken into small pieces with bones and skin intact. Usually you can request for one whole chicken to be chopped up into 20 pieces.
Use as many chilies as you can handle
For those who love spicy food, be sure to break your chilies since whole chilies do not make for a spicy dish. But when those chilies are broken, I can guarantee that your socks will definitely be knocked off.
I have actually frequented some authentic Sichuan/Chongqing/Hunan restaurants where the servers hand out hand towels for the patrons to wipe off their sweats, and if you break all your chilies, you will want that hand towel.
If you are unsure, or if this is the first time you try this dish, don’t go overboard and just try breaking 3-5 chilies. If that is not hot enough for you, you can always break more the second time you make this dish.
Chongqing (Chunking) Chicken
- a pair of skinless boneless chicken breast (about 600 gram), bite size pieces
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Other ingredients
- 3 tablespoon oil
- 2 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
- 2 inch ginger, julienned
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup whole dried chilies (*)
- 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1-2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Mix chicken with marinating sauce and marinate for 30 minutes up to 2 hours.
- Heat oil in a wok/frying pan on high heat, sear the chicken until golden brown on all sides. Set aside.
- Reduce heat to a medium low and fry Sichuan peppercorns for 2-3 minutes.
- Add ginger and garlic, cook for 1 minutes. Add dried chilies, and cook for another minute.
- Turn the heat to medium-high. Return the chicken to the wok/pan, and season with Shaoxing wine and sugar. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated.
- Turn off the heat. Transfer to a serving plate, garnish with sliced scallions, and serve with steamed white rice (and probably plenty of water).
- (*) Break off 3-5 chilies, or as many as you like, to make the dish spicy.