Szechuan cuisine, originating from the Sichuan Province in southwestern China, is renowned for its bold flavors, particularly the piquancy and spiciness that come from the liberal use of garlic and chili peppers, as well as the unique flavor of Sichuan peppercorns. Szechuan chicken is a quintessential dish that embodies these flavors, offering a delightful combination of spicy, savory, and slightly sweet sensations.

szechuan chicken

What is Szechuan Chicken?

Szechuan chicken consists of marinated chicken pieces stir-fried with vegetables and coated in a spicy and aromatic sauce. The key ingredients that give this dish its distinctive flavor include Sichuan peppercorns, dried chilies, and a variety of sauces and seasonings that create a complex, mouthwatering sauce.


To prepare Szechuan chicken at home, you'll need:

  • 1 lb (450g) boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 dried red chili peppers (adjust based on spice preference)
  • 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • For the Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp chili paste (adjust based on spice preference)
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar

Sourcing Tips:

You can find most of these ingredients in your local grocery store, but a trip to an Asian market may be necessary for authentic Sichuan peppercorns and chili paste. These specialty items are crucial for achieving the dish’s characteristic flavors.


Marinating the Chicken:

  1. In a bowl, combine the chicken pieces with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and cornstarch. Mix well to coat all the pieces evenly. Set aside for at least 30 minutes to marinate.

Preparing the Szechuan Sauce:

  1. In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, chili paste, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Stir until well combined and set aside.


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the Sichuan peppercorns and dried chilies, stir-frying for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
  2. Add the marinated chicken to the pan. Stir-fry for 5-7 minutes until the chicken is nearly cooked through.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, bell pepper, and onion to the pan. Continue stir-frying for another 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are tender-crisp.
  4. Pour the prepared sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Stir well to ensure everything is evenly coated in the sauce. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped green onions.

Serving Suggestions

Serve your Szechuan chicken hot, accompanied by steamed rice or noodles to balance the spiciness. Garnish with additional green onions or sesame seeds for an extra touch of flavor and visual appeal. This dish pairs well with a simple cucumber salad or steamed broccoli to add freshness and crunch.


With these steps, you're well on your way to creating a flavorful and spicy Szechuan chicken right in your own kitchen. Don't be afraid to adjust the level of spiciness to suit your taste or experiment with additional vegetables. The beauty of cooking at home is making each dish uniquely yours. Enjoy the process and the delicious results!

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