Drool-worthy Sichuan Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji)

Drool-worthy Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji), by thewoksoflife.com

We weren’t being witty or anything with the word “drool-worthy” in the title of this recipe. In fact, the Chinese name of this chicken dish is “kou shui ji,” which literally translates to “saliva chicken.”

Okay so to an English speaker looking at a menu here in China and seeing that very Chinglish-y menu translation, they might want to turn and run. After all, this is a cuisine in which bird spit (read: bird’s nest soup) is a much sought-after ingredient.

But not to worry. The dish’s name can be better translated as “mouthwatering” chicken. I read somewhere that some famous person took one look at this dish and hungrily made the claim, “it’s making me drool,”  and that’s how this dish got its new name and fame.

Funny how we name our food, Use some fine Shaoxing wine as the main flavoring ingredient and you have Drunken Chicken.  It’s quite delicious by the way!

Drool-worthy Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji), by thewoksoflife.com

I’ve eaten many versions of kou shui ji, and most of time the chicken is swimming in a hot & spicy tongue-numbing oil, requiring an experienced Sichuan-food-lover to go near it (it’s delicious, by the way). But that said, we made our version less spicy while still being loaded with all the essential flavors of the original version. Ours also uses sesame paste, which isn’t always a mandatory ingredient, but really adds richness.

Here’s how to make it:

For Step 1:

  • 3 tablespoon plain roasted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon red chili flakes or dried red chilis, seeded and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3-1/2 cup oil
  • 3 scallions, cut into large sections
  • 4 slices ginger
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns

For Step 2:

  • 2 chicken leg quarters, deboned with skin still on (try asking your butcher to do this for you)
  • 2 scallions
  • 2 slices ginger

For Step 3:

  • 1 tablespoon sesame paste
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock

Step 1:

Put chopped peanuts, roasted sesame seeds, red pepper flakes and salt into a medium bowl and set it aside.

Drool-worthy Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji), by thewoksoflife.com

Heat your oil in pan over low heat, and add the scallions, ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon stick, and Sichuan peppercorns.

Drool-worthy Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji), by thewoksoflife.com

Allow these aromatics to slowly infuse into the oil, until everything is kind of browned and wrinkly and fragrant. Discard the spices and pour the hot infused oil into the peanut mixture.

Drool-worthy Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji), by thewoksoflife.com

Give everything a stir and cover the bowl with a plate to seal everything inside. Walk away and don’t come back until everything else is ready!

Step 2:

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil (there should be enough water to submerge the chicken) along with the ginger and scallion. Once it’s boiling, add the chicken (once it’s added the water will probably stop boiling because of the temperature change).

Bring the water to a boil again, and after a minute, cover the pot and immediately turn off the heat. Let it sit on the stove for 20 minutes to slowly poach the chicken. In the meantime, prepare a small ice bath for chicken. After 20 minutes, take the chicken out of the pot and plunge it in the ice bath and let the chicken cool completely. Slice the chicken and place it on your serving plate.

Step 3:

Mix all of the Step 3 ingredients in a bowl. Now combine the mixture you just made with the peanut mixture you made in Step 1. Pour as much as you want over the chicken. This chicken is cooked in the same way as traditional Cantonese Poached Chicken – bai qie ji.

Drool-worthy Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji), by thewoksoflife.com

We put about 2/3 of the mixture over the chicken and used the rest for a cold noodle lunch the next day (a highly recommended action!). We also added an extra stream of hot chili oil because we like the heat.

Drool-worthy Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji), by thewoksoflife.com

You can also sprinkle the dish with some extra chopped cilantro, scallion, peanuts, and toasted sesame seeds! (We also added chopped fresh red chilies, because like I said…we LOVE spicy food).

Drool-worthy Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji), by thewoksoflife.com

…And a little extra sauce never hurt anyone.

Drool-worthy Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji), by thewoksoflife.com

Drool-worthy Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji), by thewoksoflife.com

If you want to enjoy this as the Chinese do, serve it cold as an appetizer before the meal!

Drool-worthy Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji), by thewoksoflife.com

This dish is a little bit adventurous for first-timers, but one of our favorite things to order when we go out to eat at a Sichuan restaurant.

Drool-worthy Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji), by thewoksoflife.com

Drool-worthy Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji), by thewoksoflife.com

Drool-worthy Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji), by thewoksoflife.com

And it’s usually good for next-day noodles with all that leftover sauce!

noodles-sauce

 

Drool-worthy Sichuan Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji)

Drool-worthy Sichuan Chicken in Chili Oil Sauce (Kou Shui Ji)

Ingredients

For Step 1:
3 tablespoon plain roasted peanuts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon red chili flakes or dried red chilis, seeded and chopped
½ teaspoon salt
1/3-1/2 cup oil
3 scallions, cut into large sections
4 slices ginger
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 star anise
1 small cinnamon stick
1 1/2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
For Step 2:
2 chicken leg quarters, deboned with skin still on (try asking your butcher to do this for you)
2 scallions
2 slices ginger
For Step 3:
1 tablespoon sesame paste
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
½ tablespoon sugar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chicken stock

Step 1:

Put chopped peanuts, roasted sesame seeds, red pepper flakes and salt into a medium bowl and set it aside. Heat your oil in pan over low heat, and add the scallions, ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon stick, and Sichuan peppercorns. Allow these aromatics to slowly infuse into the oil, until everything is kind of browned and wrinkly and fragrant. Discard the spices and pour the hot infused oil into the peanut mixture. Give everything a stir and cover the bowl with a plate to seal everything inside. Walk away and don't come back until everything else is ready!

Step 2:

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil (there should be enough water to submerge the chicken) along with the ginger and scallion. Once it's boiling, add the chicken (once it's added the water will probably stop boiling because of the temperature change).

Bring the water to a boil again, and after a minute, cover the pot and immediately turn off the heat. Let it sit on the stove for 20 minutes to slowly poach the chicken. In the meantime, prepare a small ice bath for chicken. After 20 minutes, take the chicken out of the pot and plunge it in the ice bath and let the chicken cool completely. Slice the chicken and place it on your serving plate.

Step 3:

Mix all of the Step 3 ingredients in a bowl. Now combine the mixture you just made with the peanut mixture you made in Step 1. Pour as much as you want over the chicken. We put about 2/3 of the mixture over the chicken and used the rest for a cold noodle lunch the next day (a highly recommended action!).

http://thewoksoflife.com/2014/08/sichuan-chicken-chili-oil-sauce-kou-shui-ji/

 

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Comments

  1. says

    this is my favorite one. I always spoil the cutting part. When I remove the bones,there is no shape of the chicken meat. I love the arrange of this dish and then yummy red oil tune.

  2. BK says

    Hi Judy
    Thanks for this mouthwatering recipe. Could you share with us how you:
    (1) roast peanuts
    (2) roast sesame seeds
    Do you wash them before you roast?

    (3) do you make your own sesame paste or do you use tahini?

    Tks!
    BK

    • says

      Hi, BK, good questions, usually you can buy all the ingredients, that’s why we did not give cooking instructions. But you can definitely make your own, let me clarify one at a time.

      (1) Roast Peanuts: use the same dry roast method as: http://thewoksoflife.com/2014/05/chinese-sesame-peanut-brittle/
      (2) Roast Sesame Seeds: you can toast them in a pan using low/medium heat. Stir them every 1-2 minutes to avoid burning on one side. When they smell just slightly fragrant, then you’re ready to go. If they’re perfuming the entire kitchen, they’re already over-toasted/burned. But if you like a really deep sesame flavor, you can taste as you go. Let them cool before using so they’ll be slightly crunchy when you’re ready to add them to dishes.
      (3) we use tahini. It’s much easier to just buy it.

      Thanks for stopping by, BK!

  3. Jerry says

    I cooked this for dinner and my family absolutely loved it. This is the second night in a row dinner was provided courtesy of your blog! I think I’m going for night 3 tomorrow.

  4. rose says

    I am always curious to find out this sauce. It is so good, but I could never quite imitate it. I like the idea of using boneless chicken leg quarters from the grocery instead of trying to find a smaller whole chicken. It is harder to properly cook a whole chicken than chicken pieces. Definitely want to try this after the holiday.

  5. says

    Thanks for this! Was at a work banquet here in Taiwan last night and neither the expats nor the local Taiwanese had heard of 口水雞, nor were many people willing to try it from the buffet because of the translation. I’m going to send this recipe round to everyone so they will know I’m not crazy when I say saliva-chicken is delicious!

  6. Mari says

    Made this today for me and my fiancé and this dish really lives up to it’s name! Incredibly addictive! It’s also very cold now here in Finland so the spiciness made me feel all warmed up and lovely. Thank you so much for this website, it is really informative and the recipes seem all so delicious I must try them all! Happy (slightly belated) Chinese new year to you!

  7. Caroline says

    This is the best blog I have come upon in a very long time. I recreated a favorite of mine last night, thanks to you, and am so ready to give this one a go ASAP. This place is a gem…thanks again!

  8. Chris says

    How long does it take to simmer the infused oil? I simmered for about a half an hour, green onion was shriveled but I was not able to get any 麻 sensation to get into the oil

    What type of soy sauce do you use? Light? Dark?

    • says

      Hi Chris, I think the Sichuan peppercorns you used could be too old or not the strong (taste) kind, the quality makes a big difference. The good Sichuan peppercorn should be bright in color and very fragrant in smell. As to the soy sauce question, it’s the light soy sauce.

      • Christopher says

        Hmmm..I buy the dried red peppercorns in a bag from the grocery. They are from China.

        What type do you use? Green peppercorns?

        • says

          Hi Christopher, I am puzzled, there is no good reason if the Sichuan peppercorns are good. Maybe you should taste them and see how “麻” they are before cooking.

          • Christopher says

            I chewed about 5. I get the citrus taste, but my mouth does not tingle. I am no expert in this subject–is my mouth supposed to tingle from chewing a few?

            I am in California. I buy the “Super Brand”. The logo is a guy with a bow and arrow.

            Are there any brands you can recommend?

            • says

              Hi Christopher, what you have is not right, you should definitely taste numbness by chewing on them. I don’t want to give you brand name and lead you on a wild chase because every market carries different brands. But I do know good quality Sichuan peppercorns should be clean and bright in color.

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