Chicken mince is the latest thing to pop up in the fridge here. I do a little work with Inglewood Organic Chicken so I was tasked with creating something with their chicken mince. Truthfully, it's not something we eat a lot of in the house but after this recipe and the dumplings (more on those another time), I am starting to see the light. This Szechuan chicken rice was the EPIC brainwave that I had!!
Inglewood chicken as a whole is simply delicious. You know that feeling when you bite food and realise this is what real chicken should taste like? Yep, that's the feeling I get every time.
I love a good fried rice dish, especially if it's topped with a fried egg. That silky, runny egg mixing in with the rest of the ingredients is simply delicious. Recently, I had a cracking fried rice dish for lunch and when I was brainstorming (over a bottle of wine) I started to crave a bowl of rice. Using what little power was left after a day of toddlering I figured let's make a rice & fried chicken mince kinda thing. I've been watching plenty of Masterchef lately and have always been inspired with the Szechuan oils they make so I figured lets put a sauce together for the dish too. Suddenly it was 10pm (past my bedtime) and my brain had decided to switch on!! Luckily I had a pen and paper, wrote it all down and waited until the next day before whipping it up for dinner 😉
Let's start with the sauce. Honestly, it's a pretty simple one and packs some serious flavours too. I am a firm believer in the old well-stocked pantry so when it comes to making things like this I tend to have the majority ingredients on hand. To make the sauce I started by toasting some Szechuan peppercorns (2 tsp) for a minute or 2 in a dry frying pan. Toasting the spices brings out the aromatic oils and helps intensifies the flavour. Defo something to consider when using spices.
Once the peppercorns were toasted I crushed them in my pestle & mortar. You could use a spice grinder if you own such a thing. After that, I literally just mixed all the rest of the ingredients together (see recipe below). It was that simple!
The one tip I would give is if using the sauce like I did I would thicken it with a little cornstarch. If using as a marinade or drizzling over the top leave as is!
What if I cant get Szechuan peppercorns
Never fear, these days there is pretty much always an alternative to use. It may not be 100% like the original but it'll get you as close as you can get!
If you are in Australia you can use Tasmanian pepper, also known as Tasmania pepper berry. It has similar citrus notes to Szechuan peppercorns.
In Africa, they have what's called Grains of Paradise. Notes of cardamom and citrus come through on this peppercorn. It's not as spicy as Szechuan pepper so you would need to up the ante on it.
Alternatively, you can use black peppercorns and coriander seed. Toast the 2 up and grind in pestle/mortar or spice grinder.
This can be a love/hate relationship for MANY, including myself. I find it's either perfect or it SUCKS. Something so simple can be the downfall of many!! Start by washing the rice. Why you ask? To remove the surface starch that can leave you with gummy rice. It actually helps the rice absorb more water, cook more evenly and leave you with (potentially) fluffy individual grains.
Once we wash the rice best thing you can do is stick it in a rice maker and into the microwave - honestly!!! No, in all seriousness we often cook rice this way and nail it 99% of the time. BUT, if you don't have a rice maker or just want to cook it the old fashioned way then follow these simple steps
- Wash the rice
- 1 cup rice to 2 cups water
- A pinch of salt
- Bring it to a simmer, cover and turn down nice and low for the next 15 minutes
- Remove from heat and let it stand for 5 minutes
Can I substitute other mince for Szechuan chicken rice?
Well, technically nope, and then yes you can. It wouldn't be Szechuan chicken rice if you use another type of mince but you can defo use pork mince or beef mince for the recipe. Each mince is a little different, some are ground more than others and fat content differs so bare this in mind when cooking. Beef mince tends to have a good bit more fat than chicken mince so you would need to cook it a little longer to cook out the excess liquid you will have in your pan.
Personally, I like this dish best with chicken mince though. Chicken is the perfect vehicle to soak up all the Szechuan sauce flavours, it's less fatty and healthier than the other two!
A lot of people scrimp on the garnish or seem it less as important as the rest of the dish but TRUST me, each individual component plays an important role. Here we use coriander - I know, I know it tastes like dishwater!! A little sprinkle adds some bright freshness to the dish. Crushed peanuts (I used salted) add yep, salt, and a little crunch too. Fresh chili because pretty much EVERYTHING is better with spice 😉 Without these garnishes, you wouldn't get those extra pops of flavour and trust me it TRULY makes all the difference!
Another cracking topping that you could add and I always have some to hand are crispy shallots - check out my recipe HERE
Other Chicken Mince Recipes
Inspired to try some more chicken mince recipes? Then, check out these recipes from some fellow food blogger friends!
Chicken Pad Thai by Adrianne Jamieson of 'Sweet Caramel Sunday'
Thai Chicken Larb by Alexandra Cook of 'Its Not Complicated Recipes'
Thai Vermicelli Noodle Salad by Alexandra Cook of 'Its Not Complicated Recipes'
Slow Cooker Chicken Stuffed Bell Peppers by Harriet Britto of 'Recipe Pocket'
Happy Cooking and Happy Eating Friends!!
- 500 g Inglewood chicken mince
- 2 carrots chopped same size as green beans
- 10 green beans diced
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 3/4 cup rice
- 1" piece ginger grated
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 1.5 cups water
- 2 tbsp Asian chili garlic sauce
- 1 tsp five Spice
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 100 ml soy sauce
- 2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
- 2 tsp ginger grated
- 6 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 eggs
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp oil
- peanuts chopped
- 1 red chili sliced finely
- 1 spring onion sliced finely
- Toast peppercorns for 1 minute in a frying pan and crush
- Mix all ingredients together with the peppercorns and set aside
- Place all ingredients into a saucepan (and stir) and bring water to the boil
- Once boiling turn the heat right down as low as it goes, cover and leave it alone for 15 minutes
- Turn off the heat and leave it alone for a further 5 minutes, remove lid, stir and eat ?
- In a large saucepan or wok heat the sesame oil on medium – high heat
- Add carrots, green beans, chicken & pinch of salt and cook for approx. 4 minutes – stirring/tossing regularly to break up the mince
- Add Szechuan sauce and cook for a further minute. Stirring regularly so everything combines
- Add butter & oil to non-stick pan and turn to medium heat
- Crack in eggs and cook for 3-4 minutes or until white is set
- Place rice on the plate, top with some delicious Szechuan chicken.
- Place fried egg on top and sprinkle some garnish and any remaining sauce in the pan
- chef knives
- chopping board
- measuring utensils
- wok/large frying pan
- pestle/mortar or small grinder
- frying pan
- there are plenty of great Szechuan sauces available in the shops these days so feel free to simplify the recipe and grab one of them instead!
- always make sure you stir/break up the mince so you aren’t left with lumpy uncooked bits
- all the little garnishes may seem overkill but believe me one thing Asian cuisine does SO well is add extra bites and pops of flavour through garnish like chili, peanuts and herbs so don’t skimp!