Chongqing Chicken With Extras
When I first created this recipe, in 2017, I called it Chongqing Chicken Like It's Made in Chongqing because I had recently returned from a trip there and was trying to replicate an incredible la zi ji, or chicken with chilies, as it's also known, I had experienced. In truth, this pumped-up version of Chongqing chicken was probably just one restaurant's version, as everyone seems to make their own tweaks to the dish, but it is my favorite Chongqing chicken—especially this newly updated and revised recipe
While normal la zi ji is simply small bits of fried chicken in an avalanche of chilies, huajiao and aromatics, this version has two irresistible bonus ingredients. The first is small bits of zhacai, the pickled mustard condiment
that originated in the Fuling district of Chongqing and is ubiquitous in the city. And the second is little bits of fried chicken skin
that were a very deliberate addition in the original. If you like that sort of thing, then I don't have to convince you how special this rendition is.
I like to use moderately hot deng long jiao, or lantern chilies
, for this dish, both cut in half to set a few seeds loose in the dish and create heat, and left whole so that the dish looks closer to the ideal: a big plate of chilies with some chicken bits hidden among them. (You can of course cut down on the number of chilies even more than I did if you're not trying to shock and awe your diners.)