Spicy Hunan Chicken Recipe is a classic Chinese stir fry dish made with tender pieces of chicken and vegetables tossed in a savory and SPICY ginger garlic sauce. Make this delicious restaurant favorite at home tonight!
Hunan Chicken Recipe
You will fall in love with the medley of tender vibrant veggies, tender meat tossed in a spicy, savory sauce. Though not hugely popular like orange, sesame or sweet and sour chicken, this stir fry is more common in authentic menus and is perfect for a weeknight meal or even for entertaining.
Confined at home for the last year without any vacationing or dining out has been a real challenge for all of us. However, the only way we cope up is by making dishes from around the world that take our taste buds on a vacation.
I will break down this chicken recipe and try to answer all your questions as well as offer some tips and tricks. The addition of dry red chili peppers might not be authentic, we loved the bold and complex addition. You can totally skip it, if desired.
WHAT IS HUNAN CHICKEN?
Originating in Hunan province of south central china, Hunan cuisine (also known as Xiang cuisine) is known for its hot, spicy, sour and aromatic flavors & colors. This stir fry is loaded with fresh vegetables, all coated in a bold spicy and savory sauce.
WHATS IN CHINESE HUNAN SAUCE?
It is a complex yet delicious combination of spicy chili garlic paste, tangy rice vinegar, salty soy, sweet sugar and oyster sauce for some umami. Broth adds body to the sauce.
WHAT DOES IT TASTE LIKE?
This is more on the sophisticated and bold taste due to the combination of spicy, tangy, sour, salty and sweet taste. The chewy chicken and crunchy vegetables make it highly irresistible.
WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS RECIPE?
- Made in one skillet - Less clean cup
- Balanced meal - Meat and veggies together a balanced meal with protein and vitamins and minerals. Serve with rice for complete meal.
- Adjust the heat level - Although the recipe is on the spicy side, feel free to adjust based on your level.
- Customizable - Use your favorite veggies.
Hunan chicken vs Szechuan chicken
Szechuan originates from Szechuan province of China which is located to the west of Hunan province. Though both are known for the spicy foods, Szechuan style is known for a more sweeter and less spicier flavor.
Hunan chicken vs General Tso's chicken
General Tso's is batter fried before being tossed in the sweet and slightly spicy sauce much like orange style and does not contain any vegetables. However, the former is more spicy and is more of a quick stir fry.
Hunan chicken vs Kung pao chicken:
Kung pao usually has the addition of roasted peanuts, dried red chilies and sauce is starchier and syrupy when compared Hunan style which is more more spicy, drier and packed with fresh vegetables.
WHAT KIND OF VEGETABLES TO USE?
Use any vegetables that you have on hand like cauliflower, other color bell pepper, green beans, mushrooms, baby corn, zucchini or snap peas.
LOVE A FIERY STIR FRY?
Break up the red chillies before adding to the dish, All the seeds and flavor infuses into the sauce and makes it super spicy.
The ingredients might look like a long laundry list, however all things can be easily found in all major US grocery stores or our favorite Amazon.
- Chicken - Boneless skinless chicken breast
- Vegetables - Broccoli, green bell pepper and carrot
- Pantry ingredients - Soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili garlic sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, black pepper and red chilies.
- Flavorings - Ginger, garlic and onion
PRO TIPS FOR SUCCESS
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be used instead on breasts.
- Cut chicken into about ½-inch thick strips and then each strip into 1 inch pieces, like in black pepper chicken recipe.
- Don't overcrowd the pan- If not using a large non stick skillet then we recommend cooking the chicken in two batches. This helps the meat to sear instead of steam cooking which results in a longer time and might over cook, making it tougher.
- Cut vegetables as instructed for faster cooking - Carrot into thin slices, broccoli into medium size florets, bell pepper and onion into 1 inch discs.
- Adjust spice level. Chili garlic sauce does not add a ton of spice, so the main heat comes from the dry red chillies. Use as as much as you like.
- Switch up the meat. Thinly sliced pork may be used instead.
- Use your favorite veggies - Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, various colored bell peppers, mushrooms, baby corn, zucchini are all great options.
- Though not traditional, roasted peanuts or cashews tossed at the end, adds a delicious crunch.
How to make?
Make sauce - Stir soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili garlic sauce, sugar and rice vinegar together.
Cook Meat - Toss cut pieces with cornstarch and cook in a large non stick skillet, coated with some vegetable oil, until cooked yet tender. Transfer to a plate.
Make stir fry - In the same pan, add broccoli, carrot, green bell pepper and diced onion, cook in high heat until vegetables are tender yet crunchy. Stir minced ginger, garlic and red chillies for a about a minute.
Pour in sauce, cooked chicken and black pepper powder. Continue cooking on high heat until sauce has reduced and coats the meat and vegetables.
HOW TO SERVE?
Serve with plain white or brown rice, your favorite fried rice or noodles for dinner.
Frequently asked questions:
One serving has 473 calories and the recipe makes four servings. However, that is subject to change depending on the vegetables used.
The carbohydrates from this recipe is 37 grams which is approximately 9% for a 2000 calorie diet. However, please note the carbs will vary depending on the vegetables used.
More Asian Chicken Take Out Recipes to try:
Hunan Chicken Recipe (Spicy)
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
- 1 cup broccoli florets cut into medium size
- 1 small green bell pepper cored seeded and diced
- 1 large carrot peeled and thinly sliced
- ½ cup diced onion
- 3 large garlic cloves minced
- ½ tablespoon minced ginger
- 4 to 12 dry red chillies depending on spice level. optional
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Make sauce - Add all sauce ingredients into a medium bowl and stir well to dissolve sugar and set aside.
- Cook Chicken - Add chicken and cornstarch into a large zip lock bag, seal and give a few good shakes for all the cornstarch to coat the chicken pieces evenly.
- Add 3 tablespoons vegetable oil into a large non-stick skillet and place over high heat. When hot, place chicken in a single layer and cook for about 4 minutes, turn over and cook for additional 2 minutes or until thoroughly cooked yet tender. Remove chicken onto a plate (If using a medium size pan, then cook chicken in two batches).
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to the same pan (still over high heat), add broccoli, green bell pepper, carrot and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 6 minutes, until vegetables are tender yet crunchy.
- Stir in garlic, ginger and dry red chilies, saute for an additional minute.
- Stir in sauce (give a stir before pouring), chicken (along with any accumulated juices) and ground black pepper. Continue cooking over high heat (stirring occasionally), until sauce has thickened and coats the chicken and vegetables (about 2 minutes).
- Serve immediately with white rice or your favorite fried rice or noodles.
Nutritional information, based on third-party calculations, should be seen as estimates, not guarantees, as various factors like product types, brands, processing methods, and more can alter the nutritional content in recipes.
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