Cornish Hens with Sichuan Papper

Good with Squab or Pigeon, Too
A Quick and Easy Low-Fat Method

Using Sichuan pepper, hua jiao, to cook delicious Sichuan dishes

Sichuan Pepper, Hua Jiao

Adapted from Chinese chef Virginia Lee, whose version used Pigeon or Roasted Squab and was deep-fried.  Pierre Franey adapted Lee’s method for Cornish Hens and used broiling instead of deep-frying.  The result is  a Chinese version of Cornish Hen, with Sichuan notes.This version is low-fat and is quickly made. The Lemons add a nice contrast to the birds and the Sichuan Pepper.

Cornish Hens with Sichuan Pepper



2 Rock Cornish Game Hens, about a pound each (Squab can be used too)
1 tablespoon Sichuan Pepper
1 tablespoon Salt
1tablespoon Peanut Oil or other Vegetable Oil
Lemon Wedges for serving.


First preheat the oven to High.

Split the birds in half lengthwise. Even better, have this done at the store.

Put the halves on a flat surface and pound lightly with a mallet or the back of a light, clean iron skillet.

Put the Sichuan Pepper corns in a spice grinder or mortar and grind up finely.  Mix well with the salt, and set aside in a small dish.

Using  your fingers, rub about half  a teaspoonful of the Pepper/Salt mixture all over the birds, with a little oil.

Arrange the split bird halves on a baking sheet, skin side down.  Place in the broiler about 3 inches from the heat. Broil about 5 minutes.

Turn the birds over, return to the broiler and broil another 3 minutes or until the birds are nicely browned.  Move the birds to the lowest rack of the broiler and broil another 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the degree of doneness desired.

Serve the grilled birds with the Lemon wedges and the rest of the Salt/Pepper mixture in a little dish on the side.


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  1. Pingback: Chinese cuisine | Pacific Rim Gourmet

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