Gunpowder chicken with dried red chillies & peanuts

Gunpowder chicken with dried red chillies & peanuts

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(19 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 10 mins Plus marinating


Serves 6-8 as part of a buffet
This classic dish from the Chinese province of Sichuan isn't as spicy if you remove the chilli seeds - complete with a sticky, sweet and rich sauce

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving (8)

  • kcal306
  • fat17g
  • saturates4g
  • carbs9g
  • sugars4g
  • fibre1g
  • protein29g
  • salt2.7g
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  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 900g), cut into pieces
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 15 whole dried bird's-eye chillies
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorn, ground
  • bunch spring onions, cut into 2½ cm pieces
    Spring onions

    Spring onion

    sp-ring un-yun

    Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested…

  • 50g whole roasted peanut

For the sauce

  • 5 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine
  • 4 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
  • 4 tbsp chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour, mixed into 1 tbsp water


  1. Marinate the chicken with the soy and leave to sit for 1 hr. If you don’t have time to marinate, don’t worry – but it does add extra flavour. Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

  2. Using a wok and a small amount of the oil, sear the chicken in batches. When it’s all browned, remove from the pan and set aside. Snip the stems from the chillies and shake out the seeds. Add the remaining oil and cook the chillies for 1 min, shaking the pan constantly to prevent them burning. Add the chicken back in with the peppercorns, spring onions and peanuts, then stir-fry for 1 min more. Add the sauce and stir for a few mins more until thickened.

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Comments, questions and tips

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27th Jan, 2019
This was very nice. I used chicken breast and left out the stock but stuck to the rest of the recipe. It was spicy but in a good mouth tingling way. Easy to make too.
Sarah Cook's picture
Sarah Cook
21st Nov, 2018
Made as directed. Paired with spicy vegetable egg fried rice ( which worked well. The dish itself I thought was ok. I used the specified number of dried chillies but as de-seeded it really was not that spicy.
26th Feb, 2017
My wife and I love this recipe and it is a firm favourite. I have found that if freezes reasonably well and I make extra portions, to heat in the microwave at work for lunch.
Suffolk Primrose
14th Sep, 2014
Yum yum! Used half dried chilli and no seeds - still had good kick. Chinese black vinegar sub with 1 part each balsamic and rice wine vinegar with 3 parts water. Serve with stir fried greens with oyster sauce (which includes rice noodles) though personally I think that dish could do with more veg. Fab.
24th May, 2014
First time I cooked this I didn't have all the ingredients and my husband loved it, second time I had all the ingredients and we both said it was fantastic. Don't adjust the recipe follow it exactly and you will love it!
thunsley's picture
12th Apr, 2014
Absolutely delicious! I've cooked as per the recipe several time and it always come out fabulous. I get my ingredients from a local Asian food shop which is in expensive and the owner is very helpful
6th Apr, 2014
I was pretty disappointed with this, I am experienced in Asian cooking and had already obtained the ingredients from local asian shop so was confident in trying this recipe. I did not use the dried red chillis, just one chilli without seeds as did not want to risk too much heat, although I love spicy food, my partner is not so keen. I added some courgette and mushrooms, I didn't have any chicken stock in (shock! Day before a big cupboard restock!) so used veg stock, felt it was a waste of a stock cube for using such a small amount so I used the left over batch of veg stock to do cous cous for lunches and will prob use the rest to do a soup... anyway, so cooking it was easy enough, I also used chicken breast as was all I had in freezer. I think whats disappointing is the sauce is way too strong and dark, I served it with my own recipe for egg fried rice- fry garlic, chilli, ginger and spring onion and celery with cooked brown rice and eggs, the ginger lifted the taste in the sauce, I decided to decant the chicken and veg from the sauce and mixed it with a tbsp of sweet chilli with the rice and this improved it. I think if you don't have the ingrediants in the house it's a lot of hassle and expense for a disappointing dish.
16th Mar, 2014
Very tasty although will alter the amount of soy next time... my hand slipped! A splash too much I reckon, I served it with noodles and was really tasty.
1st Jun, 2013
Really tasty. I couldn't get hold of Sichuan peppercorns and so just used black peppercorns. I also omitted the Chinese black vinegar and used 1 chilli with seeds for enough food for 2 people; it still tasted really good (and plenty hot enough).
29th May, 2013
Hardly ever not finish a meal but I could not finish this, really disappointing , it looked so nice but the taste was terrible , too strong, and it wasn't the hotness as I love spicy foods. Worst dinner I've had in a long time.


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