Can I give a recipe 10 stars? How about a full constellation and a comet dashing through it? This recipe was sitting on my files for a while, but every weekend something would happen and prevent me from trying it.  That all changed on a cold Sunday morning last month.  You need to find a few special ingredients, but trust me, it will be more than worthy.  A constellation and a comet worthy.

Bon Bon Chicken
(slightly modified from Serious Eats)

3 skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup Shaoxing wine
2 green onions, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, chopped
2 + 1/2 teaspoons whole Sichuan peppercorns
1 pound cucumbers, peeled and sliced thin
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinkiang black vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Place the chicken in a large pot. Add the wine green onions, 3/4 of the ginger, 1 teaspoon of the Sichuan peppercorns, and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to a simmer, cook for 3 1/2 minutes. Cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let sit for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool for a few minutes, then shred the chicken with your fingers or a couple of forks.

Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, Sriracha, the rest of the Sichuan peppercorn, rest of the ginger, sugar, and cilantro in a blender. Process until smooth.

Scatter the cucumber slices on a plate. Top with the shredded chicken, and pour on the sauce. Garnish with more cilantro, if you want.


to print the recipe, click here

This recipe delivered all it promised and a little more!  I poached three chicken breasts, hoping to have some leftover for a couple of lunches, because I did not think Phil would care for it.  He usually prefers to have a yogurt smoothie for lunch, with a Wasa cracker and peanut butter, something along those lines.  But then, he tasted a piece of chicken, and his plans for lunch changed on the spot.  No leftovers, we polished this big bowl of deliciously poached chicken with a dressing that was like an explosion of contrasting flavors: the sesame oil was there, so was the ginger. But the black vinegar, the Szechuan peppercorns, those took this dish to unprecedented levels of goodness.  Poached chicken never ever tasted so great!  Please, make this recipe.  Make double amount, because you will be going back for more.   Very refreshing, very light, but at the same time it will leave you satisfied, probably because the taste is so intense.    I cannot wait to make this again, and again, and again…

ONE YEAR AGO: Seafood Extravaganza Pasta

TWO YEARS AGO: A Pearfect Drink

THREE YEARS AGO: Ming Tsai Under Pressure

FOUR YEARS AGO: Paris, Je t’aime


  1. Sounds very tasty. Still no place to get Shaoxing wine in town so I usually substitute mirin in recipes. 🙂 I don’t think I’d bother shredding the chicken though as I have no breasts so I’d like to use the last 6 drumsticks in my freezer if I make it next week.


  2. I simply do not believe you are already blogging and do hope you had a smooth flight home 🙂 ! I am going to try this recipe just as you have written it – there is no problem with ingredients because I use all almost every day [well, perhaps the vinegar less often] but the methodology is interesting. You cook the chicken almost as for Hainanese chicken rice but I have never used the Szechuan peppercorns, black vinegar and sriracha together like this. Also interesting texture with the raw cucumber and poached chicken too . . . shall report back!! A trial with that interesting sauce first!!!


  3. Love black vinegar and always have a bottle in the pantry. I won’t use breasts though, the only time I have them is when I’m doing a whole/half chicken. Thighs should be wonderful with this recipe. Thanks Sally!


  4. Sally, this looks amazing….although I’ll be Googling some of the ingredients after I hit Post Comment! I’m totally willing to get those ingredients to make this dish if I can find them around here!
    I know exactly what you mean about postponing a recipe weekend after weekend. I have a pile of recipes that I’ve printed with the best intentions, but my plans never panned out. That’s not to say that I’m giving up on them… I will try them sooner or later.. 🙂 We need more hours in our days…and more days in our weeks!


  5. I tend to get bored easily with chicken, but this looks like it would take chicken to a whole new level. I know Mike, Mr. N and I would enjoy it. Miss A….she’s tougher to please these days.


    • I am trying to write one post this weekend, but it is one busy weekend for us, not sure I’ll be able to. But, a promise made is a promise made, I’ll get to it 😉


  6. 10 stars it is! Whenever Sichuan peppercorn is involved, it’s bound to be a goody ;-). It’s so true that seeking out authentic ingredients can make all the difference in a dish like this. And once you have them on hand, you can keep reusing in some cases for months, so it’s well worth the effort in acquiring. I think our whole family would love this dish Sally. I’m jotting down the ingredients right now!


    • Agree with you, these special ingredients are worth they trouble to find them… I am thrilled that we have an amazing oriental food store in town, and so far everything I needed I could find there. And it’s cheap too… heaven, my dear, heaven


  7. Chicken dinners are always my go-to after a long day at the lab! I can’t wait to try this. That sauce just sounds so delicious


  8. I generally don’t comment when I’ve altered a recipe. That said, I made this for dinner last night, making the sauce as written, but broiling whole chicken legs. I served them hot on top of the cucumber, which I wilted a bit with salt. Sides of Chinese noodles with garlic and oil and spinach sauteed with sesame seeds and oil, all topped with the sauce mix. It was great, pleasing the anti boiled chicken faction! thanks for reminding me of Sichuan peppercorns, they tend to hide in the back cupboard.
    By the way did you toast them first, or grind them? I did both.
    Happy Guinness day!


  9. I’m not a big fan of poached chicken either, Sally, but this sounds so flavorful. I don’t think I’ll have a problem finding ingredients, though I may have to look a little harder for the black vinegar. WIth all of the Aisan markets in this area, it’s just a question of walking into the right one.


    • I found two kinds of black vinegar and the store owner recommended me the one I ended up bringing home. It has some sweetness to it, and a smell that is not too pungent. Thicker than regular vinegar…


  10. This sauce is awesome!! We have made it 3 times since you posted. We Are going to try it with fish tonight!! Bon Bon in French is good, good. And that totally describes it.


  11. Pingback: Hapa-tite — Curry Pork Tenderloin

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