What Is Szechuan Chicken?

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Szechuan chicken is chicken prepared using techniques from southwestern China’s Sichuan province. The most salient features of this cuisine are garlic, chili peppers and Sichuan pepper.

Unlike white or black pepper, Sichuan pepper does not heat the mouth. Rather, along with its light, citrus flavor, it numbs the mouth, a sensation common in many Szechuan dishes. Szechuan chicken is no exception. Although there are a number of preparations for Szechuan chicken, including deep-fried and stir-fried versions, all of them feature the distinct, bold flavors common to Szechuan cuisine. One of the most famous Szechuan chicken recipes is known as Kung Pao chicken. This popular dish was named after Ding Baozhen, an official in the Qing Empire whose formal title was “Gongbao.”