Triple Pepper Chicken: Sichuan-style
February 28, 2010
There's a Sichuan dish called "Triple Pepper Chicken", at least at some restaurants, which consists of little nuggets of somewhat crispy chicken, hot dried chilis, hot fresh chilis, and Sichuan peppercorn (3 peppers*, see?). I've been eating the hell out of this dish for some years, first at Grand Sichuan in NYC and more recently at New Jersey's unrelated yet similarly named Chengdu 1 (Cedar Grove) and Chengdu 23 (Wayne).
If you've ever had this dish, you know it's spicy and addictive. If you've never had it, you're a damned fool, and need to do yourself a favor and go to one of these restaurants and order it. Order it in double, so you have leftovers for the next day.
Although I eat Sichuan at least once a month, I have no experience in Sichuan cooking and know nothing about it, although I do have a wonderful Sichuan cookbook called Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking. I should probably thumb through it some day. What I do know is that oil often plays a part in the sauces (cleverly disguising itself as the sauce), and Sichuan peppercorns are used. For some reason I figured I could duplicate this dish at home. At the very least, the main components are pretty clear (chicken, 3 peppers, oil), and maybe just throwing them together would produce a close approximation, I thought. As it turns out, I was somewhat right.
So with ignorance as my navigator, off I went...
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