The pep and spice of Sichuan peppercorns should never be underestimated! They add a wonderful numbing fuzz to these crispy chicken pieces for a speedy chicken salad with a difference.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (26 votes)


  • ½ Chinese cabbage, shredded
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into ribbons or matchsticks
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp Chinese five-spice
  • 6 skinless chicken thigh fillets, diced
  • 70 ml vegetable or groundnut oil
  • 2 heaped tsp Sichuan (Szechuan) peppercorns, ground in a pestle and mortar
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1½ tbsp (30 ml) Chinese rice wine
  • 5 spring onions, cut into 3cm lengths
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Put the cabbage, fennel and carrot in a bowl and squeeze over the lime juice. Add the sesame oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss together and set aside.
  2. Mix the cornflour and Chinese five-spice together in a large bowl and then add the diced chicken and toss to coat.
  3. Pour the vegetable or groundnut oil into a wok and place over a high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and fry until golden and really crisp. Take out with a slotted spoon and toss in the Szechuan pepper.
  4. Pour away most of the oil in the wok then add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds before adding the rice wine and spring onions. Cover the wok and cook for 3–4 minutes, tossing regularly.
  5. Divide the cabbage, fennel and carrot salad between 4 plates and top with the spring onions and chicken. Serve immediately.