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5 from 8 votes

Mala chicken (Chongqing Laziji, 辣子鸡)

Crispy, tasty chicken pieces stir-fried with generous amount of dried chillies and Sichuan pepper, Mala chicken is a classic delicacy not to miss.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: Chicken
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Wei Guo


Group 1

  • 400 g / 14oz chicken thigh deboned with skin on (see note 1)
  • 6 slices ginger
  • 1 stalk spring onion cut in sections
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground white pepper

Group 2

  • 500 ml / 2 cups cooking oil see note 2

Group 3


  • Cut the chicken into bitesize cubes. Mix with all Group 1 ingredients. Marinate for 20 minutes (or longer if you wish). Remove ginger and spring onion before deep frying.
  • While waiting, prepare the dried chilli. Break each one into half then remove the seeds (see note 4).
  • Heat up oil over a high heat. When the temperature reaches 160°C / 320°F, gently slide in chicken pieces. Fry for 3 minutes or so (when the edges of the chicken lightly brown).
  • Remove the chicken from the oil. Continue heating up the oil. Put the chicken back in when the oil reaches 180°C / 356°F. Fry for 1 minute then take out.
  • Leave about 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok. Fry ginger, garlic and Sichuan pepper over a medium low heat for 1 minute. Add dried chillies. Retain the heat level and fry until fragrant (do not burn).
  • Stir in chicken pieces. Add soy sauce, sugar and rice wine. Cook a further 2 minutes. Sprinkle sesame seeds and spring onion. Give everything a quick stir then dish out.



1. Classic mala chicken dish uses chicken pieces with bones in. Please feel free to choose your preferred cut.
2. The amount of oil required for deep frying may vary depending on the size of your cookware. Adjust accordingly.
3. I usually use green Sichuan pepper (麻椒) for this dish as they produce a more intense numbing effect than regular dark red Sichuan pepper.
4. Removing the seeds from dried chillies can reduce their heat. This procedure is entirely optional if you like your dish super hot or your dried chilli is a mild variety.