Sichuan La Zi Ji options crispy rooster smothered in chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, and tons of aromatics to create an electrifyingly scorching numbing sensation that’s so addictive. Take the problem when you can deal with the warmth! {Gluten-Free Adaptable}

La Zi Ji with chili peppers close up

What’s La Zi Ji

La Zi Ji is a signature Sichuan dish that’s extraordinarily standard in China. The rooster is coated with spices and flash fried till golden brown and crispy. It’s then stir fried with tons of dried chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, ginger and garlic to create a spicy numbing sensation. It’s spicy but you can’t cease consuming it as a result of it’s SO GOOD!

When introducing somebody who’s new to Chinese language meals to the true deal La Zi Ji (辣子鸡), or Sichuan Mala Hen, I’d describe the dish as “fried rooster lined in scorching sauce” so it received’t fully scare them away.

Throughout my years working in Beijing, I took each single international colleague to certainly one of my favourite Sichuan eating places, Yu Xiang Ren Jia (渝乡人家). Mala Hen was one of many dishes that all the time appeared on our lunch desk. Though my preliminary purpose was to introduce real Sichuan meals to the uninitiated, I confess that secretly I simply beloved my colleagues’ surprised faces on seeing the large plate of chili peppers positioned earlier than them. After staring on the plate for a number of moments, they’d cautiously dig up a chunk of scorching rooster with suspicion written on their forehead, fearful that it’d burn a gap of their abdomen. 

And you realize what? My friends all the time ended up loving this dish. 

Genuine La Zi Ji

The flavour profile

La Zi Ji is spicy, however not as spicy because it appears to be like. Sichuan delicacies pursues actually daring flavors which are well-balanced. On this rooster dish, the stability comes from the spiciness and smokiness of the chili peppers, the numbing tingling Sichuan peppercorns, the nuttiness of the sesame seeds, savory aromatics, salt, and a small quantity of sugar. The dish provides a deep savory style utilizing warmth as a medium. It isn’t like pure, tear-inducing Thai-style spiciness.

The presentation

Hiding the rooster beneath a mountain of peppers is simply the genuine Sichuan approach to show the meals. The nutty, smoky perfume of the colourful peppers reaches your nostrils earlier than your chopsticks do, and it makes your mouth water and makes you all of the sudden really feel ten occasions hungrier.

Listed here are some enjoyable details concerning the genuine Mala Hen we serve in China:

  • Chinese language cooks often use tiny bone-in rooster items to cook dinner this dish. It takes some effort to choose the meat from the bones, which makes consuming it additional satisfying. However right here we make issues simple by utilizing boneless thighs.
  • The quantity of chili peppers within the dish far exceeds the quantity of rooster, so that you’ll have to spend fairly a while digging by means of the peppers with a purpose to discover a chunk of meat. I used a ton of peppers within the dish for the presentation, however be at liberty to scale back the quantity as a result of it doesn’t have an effect on the flavour an excessive amount of.
  • Tons of numbing, tingling, entire Sichuan peppercorns are used. That you must preserve a pointy eye and shake off these fiery little corns earlier than inserting a chunk of rooster in your tongue, in any other case your tastebuds will fully shut down for the following 10 minutes. I included two strategies within the recipe under, so you’ll be able to both embrace or exclude the peppercorns.
La Zi Ji (Sichuan Mala Chicken, 辣子鸡)

Key components for La Zi Ji

To cook dinner the real-deal La Zi Ji, Sichuan chili peppers and Sichuan peppercorns are the 2 irreplaceable key components.

Sichuan dried chili pepper

There are a number of kinds of Sichuan chili peppers which are generally utilized in Sichuan delicacies.

Within the recipe for La Zi Ji, cooks often use medium warmth Going through Heaven Chili (Chao Tian Jiao, 朝天椒). The brief, fats Lantern Peppers (Deng Lengthy Jiao, 灯笼椒) are sometimes added for his or her good smoky taste. And you may management the warmth degree by leaving the peppers entire for a milder dish, or slicing them to reveal the seeds for a a lot spicier dish.

Sichuan peppercorns

Sichuan peppercorn (Hua Jiao, 花椒) is one other key ingredient that you simply may not be accustomed to. Recent Sichuan peppercorns have a pungent aroma that lingers across the nostril. Its style is nearly indescribable: numbing, tingling, and considerably refreshing like mint. These corns add a savory, smokey and barely citrusy taste to a dish, and that’s what makes it real Sichuan meals. I contemplate it much more necessary than Sichuan chili peppers, actually distinguishing the dish and giving it a personality not like the rest. 

In case you’re able to cook dinner up some genuine La Zi Ji or some different Sichuan dishes, order some premium Sichuan peppercorns and chili peppers now. You’ll be stunned how good your dish seems just by utilizing more energizing spices.

Easy methods to cook dinner La Zi Ji

Cooking a terrific plate of La Zi Ji takes some additional steps, however it’s completely well worth the effort.

Easy methods to prep the rooster

To get essentially the most flavorful rooster, you will have to

  1. Marinate the rooster with soy sauce and Shaoxing wine first to infuse the flavour. 
  2. Coat the rooster with a dry coating: a combination of cayenne pepper powder and floor Sichuan peppercorns together with cornstarch.

I discovered the coating actually makes this dish stand out and style way more flavorful than when you instantly add the seasonings through the stir fry course of.

For the dry coating, I desire the ziplock technique essentially the most. As a result of the combination is kind of spicy, you’ll be able to therapeutic massage the spices into the rooster with out burning your hand.

Mise en place

When you begin cooking, the method is tremendous quick. So it would be best to be sure your desk has these components prepped earlier than you begin the cooking: marinated rooster with the dry coating, chopped aromatics, Sichuan peppercorns, the dry combination of chili pepper and different spices, and chopped cilantro.

Cooking course of

  1. Unfold out the rooster within the scorching pan and fry it with minimal touching to make sure browning.
  2. As soon as the rooster is browned on each side and cooked by means of, switch it onto a plate.
  3. Stir fry the aromatics.
  4. Roast the dry spices and chili peppers to launch the perfume.
  5. Add the rooster again to the pan and toss it.
  6. Stir within the cilantro.
How to cook La Zi Ji step-by-step
Plated La Zi Ji with chili peppers and cilantro

Easy methods to serve La Zi Ji

A bowl of steamed rice is the default aspect dish. I additionally extremely advocate serving one other chilly appetizer or a lightweight vegetable dish, so you have got one thing to counterbalance the new rooster.

Listed here are some nice choices for appetizers and aspect dishes:

Different scrumptious Sichuan dishes

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Sichuan La Zi Ji features crispy chicken smothered in chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, and tons of aromatics to create an electrifyingly hot numbing sensation that’s so addictive. Take the challenge if you can handle the heat! {Gluten-Free Adaptable}

La Zi Ji (Sichuan Mala Hen, 辣子鸡)

Sichuan La Zi Ji options crispy rooster smothered in chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, and tons of aromatics to create an electrifyingly scorching numbing sensation that’s so addictive. Take the problem when you can deal with the warmth! {Gluten-Free Adaptable}This recipe is barely tailored from Chongqing Hen With Chilies (La Zi Ji) by The Mala Challenge.To make the dish gluten-free, use dry sherry to interchange Shaoxing wine. And use tamari to interchange soy sauce. Marinade

Creator: Maggie Zhu

Course: Principal

Delicacies: Chinese language

Key phrase: restaurant-style

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Prepare dinner Time: 10 minutes

Whole Time: 30 minutes



  • 1 lb (450 g) boneless skinless rooster thigh , minimize into 1” (2.5 cm) cubes (or breast)
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1 tablespoon gentle soy sauce (or soy sauce)

Prepare dinner

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
  • 5 garlic cloves , thinly sliced
  • 1 thumb ginger , minced
  • 4 inexperienced onions , sliced
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro , and extra for garnish


  • To marinate the rooster: Mix rooster items, Shaoxing wine, and soy sauce in a medium-sized bowl. Combine nicely and marinate for 10 to fifteen minutes.

  • For the spice combine: Mix all of the spice combine components in a giant bowl.

  • For the rooster coating: Combine cornstarch, cayenne powder, floor Sichuan peppercorns and salt in a big ziplock bag. Shake to combine nicely

  • While you’re able to cook dinner, drain the rooster items and discard the marinating liquid. Switch the rooster items into the bag with the cornstarch combination. Shake the bag to coat the rooster, then use your fingers to therapeutic massage the bag so the spice is evenly blended in. There ought to be little / no dried components left within the bag. Therapeutic massage the bag extra when you nonetheless see a number of uncoated cornstarch. Then again, if the rooster items look moist, sprinkle on a bit extra cornstarch.

  • To cook dinner the stir fry: Warmth a big skillet (or a wok) over medium-high warmth till wisps of smoke begin to rise. Add oil. (Or add oil within the pan and warmth collectively if utilizing a nonstick skillet.) When oil is scorching, unfold out the rooster items with out overlapping them. Use a pair of tongs or chopsticks to separate the rooster items as a lot as potential, then depart the rooster undisturbed till the underside turns golden brown. Flip to cook dinner the opposite aspect till golden and the within of the rooster is not pink. Stir a number of occasions to verify the floor of the rooster is evenly cooked. Flip to medium-low warmth. Switch the cooked rooster to a big plate.

  • It is best to nonetheless have some oil within the pan. If not, add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the Sichuan peppercorns. Prepare dinner and stir till the colour turns darkish brown. Take away them from the pan and save for later. (*Footnote 6)

  • Add the garlic, ginger and inexperienced onions. Stir a number of occasions to launch the perfume.

  • Add the bowl of spice combine with the peppers. Shortly stir till the peppers simply flip a bit darker with out turning black.

  • Return the cooked rooster into the pan. Prepare dinner and stir till nicely blended. Add the cilantro and blend a number of occasions. Flip off warmth. Switch the whole lot to a plate with chili peppers prominently displayed. High with extra cilantro for garnish, if wanted.

  • Serve scorching (and ‘scorching’!) over steamed white rice as a major.


  1. This recipe creates a wealthy numbing spicy style, similar to the genuine La Zi Ji I had in China. In case you’re undecided concerning the spiciness degree or need a milder dish, use 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder and 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns as a substitute.
  2. Select fats and huge chili peppers which have a milder style. In case you can’t discover Sichuan chili peppers, you’ll be able to alternatively use Korean chili peppers. Don’t use Thai Chook’s eye chili peppers. I do know 3 cups seems like a LOT of peppers when you cook dinner the dish the genuine manner. Alternatively you need to use 1 cup of chili peppers, which impacts the dish’s look however not the style.
  3. In China, entire Sichuan peppercorns are all the time left within the dish. Nonetheless you will have to choose them out of the dish when consuming as a result of it’s not very nice when you by chance chew into one. So you’ll be able to infuse the peppercorns within the oil after which take away them like acknowledged within the recipe. Then again, depart them in when you desire a extra genuine expertise. In that case, toast the Sichuan peppercorns flippantly or add them with the dried chili pepper combination collectively in step 8.


Serving: 1serving, Energy: 301kcal, Carbohydrates: 11.7g, Protein: 24.1g, Fats: 17.3g, Saturated Fats: 3.5g, Ldl cholesterol: 71mg, Sodium: 593mg, Potassium: 293mg, Fiber: 1.1g, Sugar: 1.5g, Calcium: 55mg, Iron: 2mg



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