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Sichuan Chicken

I used to make this recipe regularly many years ago. It was a recipe I adapted from The Frugal Gourmet. 

I’m not sure why I stopped making it, but decided to give it another go and I’d forgotten how good it was. It’s a bit of a fusion dish, but I enjoy the over the top flavor. 

It also uses a technique that I really like called, “velveting”. This is a Chinese technique to keep chicken very juicy. It works particularly well with low fat pieces like boneless breasts. 

Basically you coat the chicken pieces in rice wine, egg white and cornstarch and then par cook it in hot oil or poach in boiling water in the wok and then remove it to be added back later. Personally I find using oil works well, but if it was a delicately flavored dish, the water makes sense. 

There are many variations on this method, with some adding rice vinegar, soy sauce and some omitting the rice wine etc, but the cornstarch is essential. 


1 lb Chicken Breast, sliced into 1/2 - 3/4 inch cubes. 

Velveting Marinade
1 Tbsp Shaoxing Rice Wine or dry Sherry
1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1 Egg White
1 Tbsp Cornstarch 

3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil 
2 inch piece of minced Ginger Root
1 Red Pepper, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces. 
3 Green Onions, white only, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces.

2 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
2 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Chili and Garlic Paste
1 tsp Chinkiang Vinegar or Rice Vinegar
1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Water 
1 Tbsp Cornstarch 

Optional: Roasted peanuts, cashews, macadamia or almonds. Unsalted are best.

After prepping your chicken, mix with the velveting ingredients and into the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

Heat your wok until very hot, then add your oil and when almost smoking, add the chicken pieces and quickly stir fry, breaking them apart and allowing them to just turn white with a hint of browning. Remove from the wok with a slotted spoon or ladle and set aside. 

Add in your ginger and red peppers into the hot wok and stir fry for about a minute, then add your green onions and stir fry for another minute and add back the chicken and any juices. 

Stir fry lightly and add in your sauce mixture and cook until it thickens. If you are adding nuts, add them at the end, so they stay crunchy.


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