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.

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 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.

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 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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