Tender chicken pieces, plenty of garlic, red bell pepper, Sichuan red peppercorns and chilies come together in a mouthwatering and fragrant sauce in this quick and easy Sichuan Garlic Chicken Stir-fry!
Marinate the chicken: Trim the excess fat from the chicken thighs and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to a medium-sized bowl, followed by the kosher salt, low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, sesame oil and potato starch. Mix to coat and set aside for 15 minutes to marinate.
Make the sauce: Whisk together the potato starch, kosher salt, ground white pepper, white sugar, Shao Xing rice wine, dark soy sauce and water in a small measuring cup or bowl until throughly combined.
Prepare the dry and fresh ingredients: Prepare the dried red chilies, spring onion, garlic, red chilies and Sichuan red peppercorns as indicated in the ‘Ingredients’ section.
For the Sichuan Garlic Chicken Stir-fry:
Cook the chicken: Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a large wok (or heavy bottomed deep edged skillet) over high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and immediately spread out the pieces in the wok. Allow to sear for 20-30 seconds, then stir-fry for 30 seconds or until the chicken is 80% cooked. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a fine mesh strainer held above the wok, letting the oil drip back in. Tip the chicken into a clean bowl and set aside.
Sauté the picked chilies sauce: Heat the oil in the wok over medium heat. Add the pickled chilies sauce and sauté for 15-20 seconds.
Stir-fry the aromatics: Add the spring onion white and light green parts and garlic. Stir-fry for 20 seconds until fragrant.
Add the bell pepper: Add the red bell pepper and toss for 30 seconds to combine.
Add the chilies and peppercorns: Add the dried and fresh red chilies and the Sichuan red peppercorns. Stir-fry until the dried chilies have slightly darkened, taking care to not let them or the peppercorns burn – about 20 seconds.
Add the chicken and sauce: Give the sauce a quick stir with a spoon to loosen up the starch at the bottom. Then add the chicken into the wok and pour the sauce over everything. Turn the heat up and stir-fry for 1 minute, until the sauce thickens slightly and coats everything well.
Stir through spring onion greens and sesame oil: Stir through most of the spring onion dark green parts (reserve a few pieces for garnish) and remove the wok from the heat. Stir in the sesame oil.
To Serve: Transfer to a serving plate/dish and garnish with the reserved spring onion dark green parts. Serve immediately with warm steamed rice.
White Sugar. Feel free to use more or less to taste. If using less dried chilies or fresh red chilies, you may not need as much sugar to balance out the heat.
Dried Red Chilies. I’ve used Chinese Xiao Mi La dried red chilies which are fiery hot. You can use any type of Chinese or Thai dried red chilies that are easily available to you. If using Thai dried red chilies, use less as they tend to be hotter than most Chinese dried red chilies. Shake out some or all of the seeds after snipping the dried chilies to make this dish milder. You can also leave the dried chilies whole to get the fragrant aroma but without too much heat.
Red Bell Pepper. This adds a delicious crunchy texture and more color to this stir-fry. But any crisp, stir-fry friendly veggies like celery and bamboo shoots will work. You’ll need ½-¾ cup diced celery or ½ cup thinly sliced bamboo shoots.
Fresh Red Chilies. For a milder dish, omit or use less and deseed if desired.
Sichuan Red Peppercorns. These fragrant peppercorns have a citrusy and numbing flavor. They aren’t incredibly spicy hot, but they do make your lips and tongue buzz and tingle a little. Discard the twigs and seeds and use only the husks – they carry the flavor and won’t add a gritty texture to the dish. Look for them in an Asian supermarket or order it online. If you’re based in Asia, you might find stalls in your local wet market selling small quantities in sealable zipper bags.
Lao Gan Ma Pickled Chilies Sauce. In traditional Sichuan dishes that call for pickled chilies, pickled fresh er jing tiao chilies (pao la jiao – 泡辣椒) is used. However, since it isn’t available easily outside of China, I use Lao Gan Ma Pickled Chilies sauce. This condiment has a highly addictive hot and tangy flavor profile! Look for it an Asian or Chinese supermarket, or purchase a jar it online. In a pinch, substitute with chopped Mexican or Thai pickled red chilies or sambal oelek to yield a similar flavor. I don’t recommend omitting or reducing the quantity of this as doing so will significantly alter the flavor of the dish.
Double the recipe. This recipe as written makes enough for 2 servings. To make four servings, click the ‘2x’ button at the top of the recipe card to show double the ingredients amounts. Just make sure to use a large enough wok. If you don’t have a very large wok, stir-fry in two batches.