Marinate chicken pieces in sauce #1 for at least ½ hour, but can sit in the refrigerator, covered, overnight.
Heat 2 T. grapeseed or other oil in a hot wok – on high. Grapeseed oil has a high smoke point, so is great for using with high temperatures.
Strain chicken off of marinade – discard marinade. Add to hot wok all at once.
Stir immediately and allow the chicken to cook through while occasionally stirring – this will only take around 5 minutes.
Be careful of spattering! When chicken is done, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon.
In the hot oil, add 2 T. peppercorns, a handful of hot peppers, stir to release the fragrance of the peppercorns…
…then add the vegetables (in this case it’s scallions and grilled eggplant) to instantly cool the situation down – do not burn the peppercorns or chiles!
Once veggies have started to cook a bit – about 1 minute – return chicken to pan and stir to combine.
Now, in order, add the remaining sauces: #2, stir – and stir well until you smell the warmed garlic and ginger start to cook.
#3, the flavorful liquids: stir to coat.
#4, the cornstarch and water to thicken the whole thing. If you wish for a saucier mixture, you can add up to ½ c. water and it will thin out a bit. Stir until you can’t stand it anymore, and then serve immediately over rice with a nice cup of jasmine tea!
One note – you don’t need to eat those chiles – they’re mostly for flavor, but they do pack an incredible punch if you decide to eat them! Spencer usually fishes them out, and I usually eat about half that make it onto my plate.
- We use a lot of our crops from the farm in this great dish; eggplant (grilled and frozen at the peak of freshness), garlic, chiles (in the chile paste), scallions (in season), and chicken – what a great recipe that I’m sure you’re going to love!
- One last note: the US FDA banned Szechuan peppercorns for their ability to carry the bacteria responsible for citrus canker – a serious disease that could threaten the US citrus industry. The solution was to raise the temperature of the peppercorns to 160 F to kill the bacteria. This procedure now is standard on all imported Szechuan peppercorns, and the ban was lifted in 2005. Thank goodness! They provide a numbing-hot sensation particular to this plant, and aren’t related to black peppercorns at all. They are fabulous!