1poundskinlessboneless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (Vegetarians and Vegans: Use chicken substitute such as Butler's Soy Curls, or 1 pound tofu cubes fried and baked - * see instructions under the recipe box)
2tablespoonspeanut or extra virgin olive oil
8 to 10dried red chilisor less depending on heat preference, broken up in large pieces, seeds and membranes carefully removed and discarded
5green onionssliced, the green and white parts kept separate
In a medium bowl, stir together the soy sauce, rice wine, and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the chicken and toss to coat and let it marinate for at least 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and cornstarch. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set aside.
Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a drop of water sizzles when thrown in. Add the oil and coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chilies and szechuan peppercorns and stir-fry for 30 seconds until the chilies begin to darken in color.
Add the marinated chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink.
Add the white parts of the green onion along with the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Pour in the sauce and stir, coating the chicken. Add the peanuts, stir to coat, and cook for another 2 minutes.
Transfer to a dish, sprinkle the green parts of the green onions on top, and serve immediately with rice.
* NOTE TO VEGETARIANS: To make this dish meatless, prepare the tofu as prepared in Creamy Mushroom and Tofu Stroganoff, but add the step of first evenly sprinkling the tofu cubes with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, toss to coat and then proceed with the remaining instructions as follows: http://daringgourmet.com/2013/01/15/creamy-mushroo…ofu-stroganoff/