This Hunan Chicken has such a lovely bit of heat to it that is just perfectly balanced. It’s not too spicy, it’s just the right amount of heat…and that’s saying a lot! When it comes to spicy, our daughter, Lauren, can handle quite a bit of spiciness in her food considering she is just shy of ten-years-old. I was curious about her reaction the first time we introduced this to her, but I worried for no reason at all. She loves this Hunan Chicken!
It’s an amazingly quick and easy dinner with tender chunks of chicken (use your preference of boneless, skinless thighs or breasts) and really you can add any vegetables you would like. It’s a great meal for using up what you may have on hand! If you have thighs on hand even though you usually prefer breast meat, it will still work out just fine.
Our Hunan Chicken is pictured here with thigh meat. We prefer thigh meat as it is juicier, more tender, less expensive…and, it was already here in the house. The vegetables shown are what’s recommended, but like I mentioned earlier you can use up what you have on hand. Add that broccoli and celery if you have some that need to be used up, the sauce is what makes this dish so yummy 🙂
Wondering what the difference between Hunan Chicken, Szechuan Chicken, and Kung Pao Chicken is? These are three very similar chicken dishes. Hunan Chicken originates from the Hunan Province in Western China and usually incorporates more vegetables and fresh peppers. Szechuan Chicken originates from the Sichuan Province and incorporates more pepper pastes (processed). Kung Pao Chicken is a Szechuan cuisine dish.
They are all spicy chicken dishes with varying flavor profiles. They are also all absolutely delicious and we will link in the others when we get them added! If you love this you might want to try our Hunan Chicken Wings Recipe!
Last Updated: May 30th, 2017
This wonderful Hunan Chicken is a quick, family-pleasing dinner every time!
- 1 lb chicken (boneless, skinless thigh or breast cut into bite size pieces)
- 4 tsp cornstarch (divided - 3 tsp for chicken, 1 tsp for the sauce mixture)
- 1 large egg
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil (divided - 2 Tbsp and 1 Tbsp portions, we use peanut oil)
- 1 Tbsp garlic (minced)
- 1 Tbsp ginger (peeled and minced)
- 1 cup zucchini (sliced)
- 1 cup carrot (sliced)
- 1 cup red bell pepper (sliced)
- 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp white ground pepper
- 3 Tbsp chili paste (we use Sambal Oelek)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp cornstarch
Combine the egg and first portion of cornstarch in a small bowl large enough for the cut up chicken pieces. Whisk the egg and cornstarch together, then add the chicken. Add salt and pepper, then stir to coat thoroughly and set aside.
Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl: low sodium chicken broth, low sodium soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, sugar, white ground pepper, chili paste (Sambal Oelek - or tobanjan, or reduced amount of gochujang or in a pinch you can use sriracha although I would recommend against it. The Sambal Oelek can be found in the Asian section at most Walmart locations.) oyster sauce, and cornstarch. Whisk the sauce ingredients together, set aside.
In a large frying pan, skillet, or wok bring the first 2 Tbsp portion of vegetable oil to medium high heat, then drop the coated chicken pieces into the pan. Distribute the chicken pieces evenly across the frying pan cooking surface so that they cook evenly and quickly. Cook about 3-4 minutes until light golden brown. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate, set aside.
Add the remaining second portion of vegetable oil to your frying pan, skillet, or wok and continue to cook at medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes (depending on how softened you like your garlic) then add the chopped vegetables.
Cook the vegetables for 4-5 minutes then return the chicken pieces the frying pan. Add the sauce mixture, stir well, and continue to cook all combined ingredients for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve immediately.