Home-style spicy chicken in the best way possible

Society & Culture

A variation of a home-cooked recipe that piles on the good stuff so that diners don't need to treasure hunt.

laziji

Chunks of crispy, tender, and spicy fried chicken play hide-and-seek under an avalanche of chili peppers — meet làzǐjī 辣子鸡, a dish from Chongqing in southwestern China.

The whole dish is a medley of vibrant colors and tantalizing aromas. It was invented in the 1920s but only got popular nationwide in the 1990s, and has roots in other regional cuisines, such as Hunan cuisine.

I got this home-cooked recipe from my cousin’s Hunanese husband. His grandmother used to cook for the troops during wartime and raised five kids herself, so her cooking style is fast. Instead of marination and double-fry, we’ll boil and shallow-fry the chicken to simplify the process and use less oil. I also used fewer chilies and more chicken, so there’s no need to treasure hunt or fight for meat at the dinner table.

YIELD

Serves 4

TIME

20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • Pinch of salt, to taste
  •   4 slices ginger
  • 2 green onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, roughly chopped
  •   2 tablespoons cooking wine
  •  1/2 cup cooking oil
  •  4 whole dried chilies
  • 2 green chilies, roughly chopped
  • 1 red chili, roughly chopped
  • Water

laziji2

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put chicken chunks into a large pot with enough cold water to barely cover the chicken. Add 2 tablespoons of cooking wine and bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
  2. Heat up 1/2 cup of oil over high heat. Fry 4 slices of ginger for 30 seconds to allow the fragrance out. Gently slide in the chicken chunks and stir fry until the surface turns evenly golden brown.  Move the chucks to one side of the wok or pan.
  3. Add chopped green onions, garlic, 4 whole dried chilies, 2 green chilies, 1 red chili, and fry until fragrant.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce, and a pinch of salt. Give everything a quick stir and mix well.
  5. Remove from the heat and serve hot.

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