These Spicy Mala Chicken Burgers are a fun and delicious way to amp up chicken burgers with some heat. Crunchy, fried chicken is flavoured with a mixture of spices and doused with Sichuan chili oil for additional kick.
What is mala?
Ma la translates to "numbing" and "spicy" in Chinese.
It refers to a spice/seasoning mix made with Sichuan peppercorns and chili pepper.
Mala spice is typically added into a simmering sauce that is found in many dishes in Sichuan cuisine, such as Mapo Tofu.
Sichuan peppercorns produce the numbing sensation, due to hydroxy-alpha-sanshool.
Why you'll love this recipe
If you want to spice up the way you enjoy chicken burgers, this is fun way to do so.
The spices in the fried chicken are fragrant and flavourful.
Adding Sichuan chili oil to the chicken enhances that spicy, tingling mouthfeel.
It's easy to make, with a few ingredients.
Ingredients you'll need
- chicken breast: butterflied (split in half); you can use boneless skinless or skin-on, depending on your preference
- flour: all-purpose flour will work perfectly fine here
- corn starch: gives the fried chicken a light, crunchy texture
- frying oil: use a high smoke-point oil such as peanut, grapeseed and canola
- Mala spice mix: a combination of spices that give the burgers flavour
- Sichuan chili oil: has mala spices in the oil, including Sichuan peppercorns and chili pepper
- hamburger buns: I used homemade hamburger buns, but you can use store-bought buns; a brioche or milk bun will work perfectly
- lettuce: iceberg or green leaf will work
- sesame kewpie: is a roasted sesame mayo; you can use regular mayo if you don't have sesame kewpie
How to make it
Prepare the chicken:
Place the chicken in a large bowl.
Add in the soy sauce, salt, Mala spice mix, and sesame oil.
Marinate the chicken in the seasoning.
Cover and store in the fridge for 2 hours or longer.
Heat a pot of oil over medium-high heat. (Use a high smoke-point oil, such as peanut, grapeseed or canola).
Add flour and corn starch to a shallow bowl and mix.
Take the chicken out of the marinade, and coat with flour mixture.
Coat chicken completely and then tap off excess.
Add the chicken to the hot oil and fry one at a time, about 5 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
Remove chicken from the frying oil and drain on paper towel.
Season the fried chicken with additional mala spice mix.
Slice a hamburger bun and spread 1 tablespoon of sesame kewpie sauce.
Add lettuce and the fried chicken to the bun.
Drizzle Sichuan chili oil over the fried chicken.
Replace the top half of the bun and enjoy!
How to serve & store
As with any fried food, the Mala Chicken Burgers are best enjoyed freshly made.
The fried chicken can be fried and kept warm in a 250F oven until ready to serve.
Compliment the burgers with Mala Tater Tots and Pickled Garlic.
Or pair with Strawberry Milk or Homemade Soy Milk to balance out the heat.
You can make the hamburger buns ahead of time, up to 2 days prior.
Other recipes you may like
Be sure to check out these recipes:
Sichuan-Style Guo Kui (Spicy Meat-Filled Crispy Flatbread)
Let me know if you try out this recipe for Spicy Mala Chicken Burgers -- tag me on Instagram @siftandsimmer or leave me a comment/rating below!
Mala Spice Chicken Burgers
For accuracy and precision in baking recipes, use weight (metric) measurements when available.
For the chicken:
- 2 chicken breast butterflied
- 1 ½ tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 tablespoon Mala spice mix divided
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 C all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon corn starch
- frying oil use a high smoke-point oil such as canola, peanut, grapeseed
- 4 hamburger buns
- 4 tablespoon sesame kewpie or mayo
- 4 leaves lettuce
- Sichuan chili oil
Prepare the chicken:
- Place the chicken in a large bowl.
- Add in the soy sauce, salt, Mala spice mix, and sesame oil.
- Marinate the chicken in the seasoning.
- Cover and store in the fridge for 2 hours or longer.
- Heat a pot of oil over medium-high heat. (Use a high smoke-point oil, such as peanut, grapeseed or canola).
- Add flour and corn starch to a shallow bowl and mix.
- Take the chicken out of the marinade, and coat with flour mixture.
- Coat chicken completely and then tap off excess.
- Add the chicken to the hot oil and fry one at a time, about 5 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F/74°C.
- Remove chicken from the frying oil and drain on paper towel.
- Season the fried chicken with additional mala spice mix.
- Slice a hamburger bun and spread 1 tablespoon of sesame kewpie sauce.
- Add lettuce and the fried chicken to the bun.
- Drizzle Sichuan chili oil over the fried chicken.
- Replace the top half of the bun and enjoy!
The nutritional information provided should be considered as approximate and is not guaranteed. Please use your best judgment to ensure food is safely prepared and/or a good fit for your diet.
David @ Spiced
I'm thinking how good it would be to have this chicken burger next to those mala tots! This burger looks fantastic, too! It's not easy to make a burger look good, and you've got my mouth watering with these photos. Well done!!
Thanks David! This burger goes so well with those Mala Tater Tots!! Been on a little mala kick 😉
Katherine | Love In My Oven
These look fantastic! I love the spice! My hubby and I would be all over this. I'd have mine with a big pickle too 😉
Ben | Havocinthekitchen
Ooo this burgers look fantastic - really nicely cooked and juicy chicken. I would love one right now 🙂
Healthy World Cuisine
You know our boys love it spicy. They would go crazy over your spicy mala burgers. We make mapo tofu often but with Doubaojiang sauce and Sichuan peppers. Need to make your mala spice asap!
I'm always looking for different ways to spice things up Michelle. And spicing up a chicken burger this way sure does sound tasty! My Lynne is a HUGE burger and spicy foods fan. She's going to love these!