Koushuiji, or saliva chicken, is a spicy appetizer from China’s Sichuan Province—and it’s called that because the dish is said to make people drool.
Poaching chicken is a delicate art. Overdo it, and you’ll get a rubbery mess. Undercook it, and you’ll get raw pink spots.
But time it just right, and you’ll get a wonderful, buttery cut of poultry that can be seasoned with nearly anything and still taste great.
In China’s Sichuan Province, cold poached chicken is seasoned with a spicy vinegar sauce. The dish is called saliva chicken, or koushuiji 口水鸡, and the name is a sort of compliment—it’s good that it can make anyone drool.
We gave our producer Hanley a remote lesson on how to make this dish. For those who want to try it at home, here’s the full recipe.
- 2 chicken thighs, deboned with skin on
- ¼ inch of ginger, sliced
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 3 green onions, minced with white and green parts separated
- 2 teaspoons of whole Sichuan peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons of canola oil
For the sauce:
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Thai chili peppers, minced
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine
- 2 tablespoons of black vinegar
- ½ tablespoon of sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons of Lao Gan Ma chili sauce
- In a medium-sized pot over high heat, cover the chicken with water. Add ginger, salt, and the white part of the green onions.
- Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and wait about 10 minutes. Use a kitchen thermometer. When the meatiest part of the chicken registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius), it can be taken out. Discard the water and aromatics.
- Put the chicken in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
- Make the sauce by combining the ingredients.
- Slice the chicken, and put on a serving plate. Dress with sauce.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat up 2 tablespoons of canola oil. When it starts sizzling, add in the Sichuan peppercorns. When you can smell the peppercorns, pour the mixture over the final dish.
- Garnish with green onions and serve.