Mapo Chicken with Rice and Quick Kimchi Cucumbers

This dish is inspired by the delicious Mapo Tofu, but uses boneless chicken breast pieces instead. It is savory and spicy, in the tongue tingling way that only Sichuan peppercorns produce. It should be served on white rice, and adding a pickled component on the side really rounds out the flavors. You can find the chili bean paste and Sichuan pepper at most Asian markets, or on amazon.

For chicken:

  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2-3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 4 tsp Sichuan pepper powder or peppercorns ground
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 5-6 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin slices
  • 2 tbsp fermented chili bean paste
  • 1 tsp Chinese ground chili powder (this is different than the chili powder from the grocery store, again you can find at Asian markets, or if you don’t have it you can leave out or sub a little cayenne to taste for the heat)
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine (you can buy at Asian market or you can leave out)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chili oil (instructions below)
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced

Whisk cornstarch and chicken stock in a bowl. If using peppercorns not powder, toast them briefly in a hot pan and grind in spice ginder or with a mortar and pestle. I use pre ground powder from amazon to save time.

Heat oil in a frying pan until very hot. Add ginger and garlic, and cook for about a minute, stirring so they don’t burn. Add the chicken and chili paste and cook and stir until the chicken is cooked through, a few minutes.

Stir in the chili powder, wine, soy, and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil to thicken. Stir in the ground peppercorns, chili oil and half of the green onions. Serve over rice topped with remaining green onions.

Chili Oil:

Toast 1/4 cup hot dried chili peppers (I used dried Sichuan peppers, but you could also use de arbol) in a pan until toasted and then add 1/4 cup canola oil and heat until the chilis start to bubble. Allow to cool and strain out the peppers and use. Store in the fridge if you don’t use it all. This makes very spicy oil so if you don’t like spice you can skip this and just use regular oil or leave it out.

These cucumbers aren’t truly kimchi because they aren’t fermented and are eaten fresh, but the have the same flavor profile as kimchi which makes them delicious. You can take these same ingredients (minus the cucumbers) and mix with a bit more oil/vinegar and make an amazing salad with romaine and sliced onions.


  • 6 small Persian or Asian cucumbers
  • 1/2 onion thinly sliced
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp gochugaru (this is the Korean red chili flake used in kimchi)
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 inch piece ginger minced
  • sesame seeds

Toss the cucumbers in the salt and let sit for 20 minutes. Mix together the rest of the ingredients other than the onion. Drain the excess water from cucumbers and rinse them thoroughly to remove the exc3ss salt. Don’t let them sit too much longer than 20 min or they will get way too salty. Dry them and add to your sauce ingredients and add the sliced onions and mix. You can serve right away, or you can let sit in the fridge a while and they get tastier.

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