How to make ‘saliva chicken,’ a mouth-watering Sichuan cold dish

Jan 29, 2021

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
  1. In a medium-sized pot over high heat, cover the chicken with water. Add ginger, salt, and the white part of the green onions.
  2. 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.
  3. Put the chicken in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  4. Make the sauce by combining the ingredients.
  5. Slice the chicken, and put on a serving plate. Dress with sauce.
  6. 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.
  7. Garnish with green onions and serve.


Producer: Clarissa Wei

Videographer: Mario Chui

Editor: Nicholas Ko

Mastering: Victor Peña