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  • Writer's pictureKevin Dam

"Tantalizing Recipes for Mouth-Watering Chicken (Kou Shui Ji)"

Kou Shui Ji or "Mouthwatering Chicken" is a popular Szechuan appetizer known for its numbingly spicy and aromatic flavor. Here's how to make this dish with some insights to elevate your cooking:


  • Dish name: Kou Shui Ji (Mouthwatering Chicken)

  • Cuisine: Szechuan (Chinese)

  • Preparation time: 30 minutes (plus chilling time)

  • Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • Yield: 4 servings as appetizer

  • Ingredients:

  • 500g chicken breasts or thighs

  • 4 cups chicken stock (or water)

  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced

  • 2 spring onions, knotted

  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon chili oil with its sediment

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, crushed

  • Garlic paste (as per taste preference)

  • Coriander and toasted sesame seeds for garnish

  • Salt to taste


  1. Boil the chicken stock with ginger and spring onions. Add the chicken, return to a boil, and then simmer for about 15 minutes or until cooked through.

  2. Remove the chicken and immediately soak it in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process and firm up the skin – this is key for texture.

  3. Shred or slice the chicken into bite-size pieces and arrange on a serving plate.

  4. Combine soy sauce, black vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, chili oil, and Szechuan peppercorns to make the sauce.

  5. Pour the sauce over the chicken and ensure it's well-coated.

  6. Garnish with minced garlic paste, coriander, and toasted sesame seeds.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Stock vs. Water: Cooking the chicken in stock will impart more flavor than water. You can enhance water with spices if stock isn’t available.

  2. Texture: The water bath after cooking is crucial for achieving the right texture of the chicken.

  3. Ingredient Quality: Use good-quality soy sauce, aged black vinegar, and homemade chili oil if possible for a robust flavor.

  4. Chili Oil: The chili oil’s red sediment is where all the flavor is, so make sure to include it in the dish.

  5. Balancing Flavors: Adjust the soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar in the sauce to taste before adding it to the chicken.

  6. Spice Levels: The amount of Szechuan peppercorns and chili oil can be adjusted according to your heat preference.

  7. Garnish: Don't skimp on garnishes; they add fresh flavor and complexity to the dish.

  8. Serving: Kou Shui Ji is typically served cold or at room temperature, making it a refreshing appetizer.

  9. Advance Preparation: This dish tastes better when the chicken has had time to absorb the flavors of the sauce.

  10. Experimentation: Feel free to experiment with additional toppings like crushed peanuts for added crunch and flavor.

Marinating the chicken in the sauce overnight can significantly enhance the flavor. The longer marination time allows the chicken to absorb all the aromatic and spicy elements of the sauce, resulting in a more intense and enriched taste. Just ensure the chicken is stored in the refrigerator during this process to keep it fresh and safe to eat. When you're ready to serve, bring the chicken to room temperature or keep it cool according to your preference before garnishing with coriander and sesame seeds for a refreshing contrast to the richly flavored meat. This step can turn a good Kou Shui Ji dish into an exceptional one!

Kou Shui Ji

Master these tips and tricks, and you'll create a Kou Shui Ji that is truly mouthwatering and perfect for tantalizing the taste buds of lovers of spicy and bold Szechuan cuisine!

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