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Szechuan Chicken in Chili Sauce

Szechuan Chicken in Chili Sauce

A traditional Szechuan-style chicken poached with spicy chili oil sauce for ultra tender meat.
By Elaine Luo


The Chinese name is Kou Shui Ji, so it is sometimes translated into Saliva chicken directly. This name may sound quite weird or uncomfortable. Mouthwatering chicken is a better one. Whenever you get a chance to visit an authentic Szechuan restaurant, order it!

The short poaching cooking skill will make the chicken meat super tender and it is also used in Cantonese white cut chicken. After cooking, soak the chicken in iced water can tighten the skin. There are several important tips to make perfect chicken at home with tender texture and excellent Szechuan style mala flavor.


I would recommend using whole chicken (younger ones around 2 pounds) for this recipe as a whole chicken offers maximum chicken skin (the best part of this dish).


Szechuan chili oil is the soul of this dish. Store-bought ones are good enough! The chili oil should be prepared first because the color of the red oil will become brighter after hours of resting. I list the ingredient for around 1 cup of oil. However we only need around 4 to 6 tablespoons in this recipe. You can use this chili oil in many other Szechuan style dishes like bon bon chicken, or Szechuan style chicken noodle salad.

See Also


If you love spicy chicken, check my favorite Chongqing Mala Chicken.

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Szechuan Chicken in Chili Sauce

  • Author: Elaine Luo


A traditional Szechuan-style chicken poached with spicy chili oil sauce for ultra tender meat. Get the recipe.


  • 1 chicken around 2 pound
  • 4 ginger slices
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tablespoon cooking wine
  • Peanuts, toasted and crushed
  • White sesame seeds, toasted

Chili oil

  • 2 slices of ginger
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 46 dried chili pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Several Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn (or powder)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Other ingredients for the Sauce

  • 46 tablespoons Szechuan style chili oil
  • 2 tablespoons black vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoon cooking wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced green onion
  • Minced coriander


  1. In a small bowl, mix chili powder, Sichuan peppercorn, five spice powder and sesame seeds.
  2. In a pan, add bay leaves, ginger slices, star anise, Sichuan peppercorn and dry red peppers, pour in around 1 cup of oil and heat until really hot. Discard all the spices and leave the oil only.
  3. Pour the hot oil directly to the powder mixture in the small bowl. You will smell the strong aroma during the process. Set the Szechuan combined chili oil aside.

Prepare the chicken

  1. Clean the chicken and remove feet and head. In a large pot, add chicken, green onion and 3-4 slices of ginger and cooking wine. Then pour enough water to cover the chicken. Bring the content to a boiling with medium fire and continue cooking for around 8 minutes (see note 1 for the adjusting of the time needed). Turn off the fire, cover the lid and let the chicken stay for around 20 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, prepare enough iced water. Transfer the chicken out and soak it with iced water. Turn over several times during the process until the chicken is completely cooled down. Cut into chunks and lay in the serving bowl.
  3. Mix around 4 to 6 tablespoons of chili oil with other ingredients to prepare the sauce.
  4. Toast peanuts and white sesame in pan until aroma and then crush with a rolling pin or crusher.
  5. Pour the sauce over the chicken, garnish with toasted peanuts and white sesame seeds and enjoy!


For larger chicken, lengthen the poach time but no longer than 15 minutes.

  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Szechuan, Chinese


View Comment (1)
  • It’s a bit confusing…
    In the instructions, you say that I need to pour in around 1 cup of oil and heat until really hot. What kind of oil?

    “Mix around 4 to 6 tablespoons of chili oil with other ingredients to prepare the sauce”

    What chilli oil is that?

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