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Szechuan Chicken with Cashew Nuts

Szechuan chicken, a super quick and spicy stir fry that fizzes with Szechuan pepper and dried chilli flakes in a gloriously tasty sauce.

Taking under 15 minutes to cook this recipe is the perfect Chinese fakeaway to cook at home and save you a few pennies.

Szechuan chicken with cashew nuts and spring onion served on white rice.

Kinda Kung Pao Chicken.

I have something of a reputation for producing the occasional Chinese or Indian takeaway or fakeaway recipe.

This gloriously tasty dish joins dishes like my ginger pork stir fry, chicken with black bean sauce and Dan Dan noodles, a dish so good they named it twice!

This Szechuan chicken stir fry recipe is very much influenced by the classic kung pao chicken. My version is defined by the combination of dried chilli flakes and Szechuan pepper, which isn’t actually pepper at all.

If you have never tried Szechuan pepper you are in for a treat. It has the most wonderful fizz, I think of it as grown-up popping candy.

Be careful though, use too much and you will get a number tongue!

I love the stuff and use it all the time, this iteration joins other Szechuan recipes like Szechuan beef and Szechuan prawns.

Close up Szechuan chicken with being held with chopsticks.

Frequently Asked Questions.

There are lots of unfamiliar ingredients, are there any substitutes?

Yes, there are a couple of ingredients that may not be in everyday use if you do not cook Chinese food often.

Here are some subs that can be made:

Shaoxing Wine: Gin, Dry Sherry.

Chinkiang Vinegar: 50/50 mix balsamic & red wine vinegar but use half as much as this recipe calls for.

Can I use chicken thighs?

Yes, it takes a little longer to prepare the chicken into long evenly sized strips, but they work wonderfully well

I find Szechuan pepper gritty, how can I solve that?

Only the husk of Szechuan pepper is used. The black seed is not but it can sometimes find its way into the packet. Although most of the time it is just the nature of the spice.

The best way to treat it is to toast it first, this makes the husk more brittle and easier to crush. If you want to go even further you can sieve the resulting pepper to get an even finer powder.

Close up Szechuan chicken with cashew nuts and spring onion served on white rice.

Serving Suggestions.

More often than not I serve this recipe with plain old boiled rice, egg fried rice works well too.

But this recipe is very much a “vegetable-free” zone. You can change that up really easily with a host of stir-fried vegetable recipes.

I have a a stir fried broccoli and a stir fried asparagus recipe that would be perfect with this Szechuan chicken.

You could of course run with mixed vegetable stir fry too!

Szechuan chicken with cashew nuts served with white rice featuring red chopsticks.
Yield: 2 Servings

Szechuan Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

My Szechuan chicken recipe is loosely based on kung pao chicken and features a wonderfully spicy sauce that is zingy with szechuan pepper!

Ingredients

  • 350g (12oz) Chicken Breast
  • 75g (1/2 Cup) Cashew Nuts
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • Ginger Thumb Sized Piece
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Chilli Flakes
  • 1/2 Tbsp Szechuan Peppercorns
  • 2 Spring Onions
  • 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil

For the Marinade

  • 1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Cornflour
  • 1 Tbsp Cold Water

For the Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp Cornflour
  • 1 Tsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Chiangking Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Water
  • 1 Tsp Sesame Oil

Instructions

  1. Slice the chicken breast in half lengthways and then into 5mm thick strips diagonally across the breast.
  2. Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and add the chicken, then allow to site whilst the remaining ingredients are prepared
  3. Finely slice the garlic as finely as you can.
  4. Peel and cut the ginger into batons as thinly as you can manage.
  5. Finely slice one of the spring onions into 2mm thick rings and shred the other as thinly as you can.
  6. Place the shredded spring onion in a bowl of cold water.
  7. Toast off the Szechuan peppercorns in a hot wok for 2 minutes.
  8. Crush the Szechuan pepper in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder, if you want to refine the texture more then pass it through a fine sieve.
  9. Mix together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
  10. Toast off the cashew nuts in a hot wok and set aside.
  11. Get the wok almost smoking on a high heat and add the oil.
  12. Immediately add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for 30 seconds.
  13. Add the chicken and marinade followed by the chilli flakes and Szechuan pepper and stir fry for 3-4 minutes.
  14. Pour in the sauce followed by the sliced spring onions and cashew nuts.
  15. Stir fry for a final 2-3 minutes.
  16. Drain the shredded spring onions and serve on top of the stir fry.

Notes

I usually serve kung pao chicken with some simply boiled jasmine rice.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 673Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 1220mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 4gSugar: 16gProtein: 46g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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