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Szechuan/Sichuan Roasted Chicken


Szechuan (Sichuan) Roasted Chicken Recipe

1 whole chicken, halved if you want or leave whole
2 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon vanilla powder (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic
4 tablespoons of olive oil


1. Clean chicken under cold running water and pat dry with some kitchen towels.
2. In a mortar and pestle, grind the Szechuan peppercorns, vanilla powder, garlic cloves, black pepper and salt together until finely grounded.
3. Add soy sauce, honey, olive oil into the dry ingredients and mix well until you get a dark, rich paste.
4. Rub the paste all over the chicken and let it marinate for about 1 hour.

I put my chicken and spice rub in a large ziplock bag and rub them like that – simple and fuss-free. ;)

5. Preheat oven to 400F/200C. After marinating your chicken for 1 hour, transfer it to a roasting dish and roast for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 350 and continue roasting for another 30 minutes or until the chicken is cook through.

To check if your chicken is cooked through, there are two methods:
i. poke the thickest part of the thigh and if liquid runs clear, it’s cooked
ii.if the chicken thigh separates itself easily from the body, the chicken’s done.

While your chicken is cooking, you can prepare the fennel and apple pickle. This tangy side dish works wonderful with the roast chicken – and it’s so simple to make too!

Fennel and Apple pickle with Cashew:

1/2 bulb of fennel head, sliced thinly
1 apple (I used Golden Delicious)
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 cup of orange juice
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon oil
a small pinch of Chinese five spice powder
1/2 cup roasted cashew nuts for topping


1. Combine the fennel and apple slices in a bowl.
2. Heat the vinegar, sugar, orange juice, sugar, salt and a pinch of Chinese five spice powder until the sugar dissolves.
3. Mix the spiced vinegar solution with oil and then pour it over the fennel and apple slices. Toss to combine and store in fridge until ready to use.

The tangy, spicy, and crispiness of the chicken is the perfect chicken dish for Chinese New Year. I hope you guys would enjoy it as much as I do.

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29 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. Kate

    Sichuan pepper rub with chicken, that sounds like a great idea, I am sure it will spice up the typical boring roasted chicken. Happy Chinese New Year to you.

  2. I don’t think chicken is a must-have for my family during CNY though I always see it in curry-form on the reunion dinner table ;p
    Sounds like a simple recipe to try.

  3. Sean

    I tried this recipe today but did it slightly different. I broke down a chicken into pieces and marinated those and cooked them in the oven after. I also added 5 red chilles that were ground up into the marinade.

    I thought it was a bit too salty but still good. My gf thought there was wayyyy too many szechuan peppercorns.

  4. Evelyn

    the 1 tsp salt for seasoning the chicken.. do you use kosher salt or just normal table salt? thanks so much. I am learning a lot from your website..

  5. MarkS

    Will this recipe work on the rotisserie instead of the oven? I love chicken cooked on a rotisserie, but I’m afraid of losing the paste as it rotates or burning it.

  6. MarkS

    Unfortunately, the rotisserie was not nearly as successful. The much of the rub burned off and lost a significant amount of flavor. I will stick to oven roasting.
    The fennel/apple salad was a huge hit! Thanks for this.

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