I had been meaning to update this recipe for a while. Whenever I teach Intro to Sichuan cooking classes, we focus on simple and easy-to-love stir-fry dishes such as Kung Pao Chicken, Mapo Tofu, and Dan Dan Noodles. But anyone who has spent enough time in good Sichuan restaurants is bound to eventually try a dish listed as Chongqing chicken, Sichuan chicken with chilis, wok-fried chicken, or a number of similar names. (Lazi jiding is the name in Mandarin.) And inevitably in every class, when I go around the room during the intro ice-breaker and have students list their favorite Sichuan dish of all time, at least one or two will mention this dish.
When a student in a private class I recently taught requested we work on this dish, it reminded me of how long it has been since I made it at home. And so I decided to update this, making it extra crunchy with the method I developed for dishes like General Tso's Chicken and Chinese Lemon Chicken in my cookbook.
Lazi jiding (辣子鸡丁) is like a more sophisticated version of kung pao chicken. It's smokier, spicier (a lot spicier if you chop up the chilis), and only a bit more complex in its preparation. (The way I make it is more like shallow-frying. I use about 3 cups of oil, and dredge the chicken in a cornstarch-salt-pepper mixture beforehand.) Few fried chicken entrees are enveloped by such a succulent tongue-tingling sauce.Read More