Spicy and sweet, this Szechuan Chicken is a fast and healthy dinner chock-full of colorful veggies, dried chilies, and tender cubes of juicy chicken.
An Easy Asian-Inspired Dinner Idea
When it comes to Asian food, I’m totally a fan of anything with the word “Szechuan” in it! That usually means something deliciously spicy. And this recipe is no exception! We’re talking whole dried chilies, you guys. Fifteen of them, to be exact!
Yep, that’s right! This easy recipe for Szechuan chicken mimics the flavors of your favorite takeout place, with healthy homemade ingredients. You’ll love how easy and healthy this dish can be, whipped up in the comfort of your own kitchen.
What You’ll Need
Just look at the beautiful ingredients in this list! It’s easy to see why this dish is so healthy and so crave-worthy. Yum!
For the Stir Fry:
- Oil: For stir-frying the ingredients, you can use any type of oil you prefer. I usually go with vegetable oil. Have ready ¼ cup, divided.
- Chicken: Trim any excess fat from 1 ½ lbs of chicken breasts, and cut into cubes using a sharp knife.
- Cornstarch: Adding cornstarch to the chicken gives it a silky-soft texture.
- Onion and Bell Peppers: Chop ½ a yellow onion, a green bell pepper, and a red bell pepper into 1-inch chunks.
- Small Dried Chilies: You can find these in many grocery stores. You’ll need 15 small dried chilies, or less for a milder flavor.
- Garlic: Mince several cloves of garlic, enough to make about 2 teaspoons.
- Ginger: Peel and mince 2 teaspoons’ worth of fresh ginger root.
- Salt and Pepper: To taste.
- Sesame Seeds: Optional, for garnish.
For the Stir-Fry Sauce:
- Soy Sauce: ¼ cup soy sauce forms the base of the sauce.
- Hoisin Sauce: This handy condiment should be available in most stores.
- Sesame Oil: I add 2 tablespoons of this fragrant oil to my sauce.
- Brown Sugar: For a touch of sweetness, add 1.5 tablespoons of brown sugar, or substitute honey or maple syrup.
- Cornstarch: You’ll need 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken the sauce.
- Broth: ⅓ cup chicken broth finishes the sauce.
How to Make Szechuan Chicken
Keep in mind that once everything is prepped, the cooking goes by very quickly! So it’s good to have everything cut and measured before you start.
- Prep the Chicken. Place your cubed chicken breasts in a bowl. Sprinkle with cornstarch, and toss until well-coated. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the Chicken. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the prepared chicken, and let it cook for about 4 minutes per side, or until golden-brown and cooked through. Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and set aside.
- Cook the Vegetables. Next, add the chopped peppers and onions to the pan. Saute for about 5 minutes, or until the veggies begin to be tender in texture. Add the minced garlic, minced ginger, and dried chilies. Cook for an additional minute.
- Make the Sauce. While the vegetables cook, mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, until the brown sugar has dissolved.
- Add the Sauce and Chicken to the Pan. Return the cooked chicken to the pan. Pour the sauce over the stir-fry. Allow it to simmer for about 1 minute, or until the sauce slightly thickens.
- Enjoy! Garnish the szechuan chicken with sesame seeds, if using, and serve on a bed of rice.
Tips for Success
Real talk: just writing this recipe made me so hungry! But wait, there’s more! Take a look at these handy tips for making the best stir-fry ever.
- Add Wine: Want more flavor? You can amp up the sauce with a splash of Shaoxing wine, or a bit of dry sherry.
- Add Nuts: Definitely not a necessity, but chopped peanuts or cashews are great for adding even more sweet flavor and crunchy texture to this stir-fry!
- Add Green Onion: A few chopped scallions make a lovely fresh garnish and add their own special bite.
You can definitely serve this stir-fry with plain cooked rice, but if you’d like to throw in a couple of other special dishes, try some of these takeout-inspired favorites!
- Shrimp Fried Rice: This mouthwatering version of shrimp fried rice includes pineapple for a sweet-salty twist you won’t be able to resist! Shrimp Fried Rice with Pineapple is sure to be a new favorite.
- Potstickers: Everyone loves potstickers, and guess what? This restaurant favorite is super easy to make at home, too. Try my recipe for Chicken Postickers and see for yourself!
- Egg Drop Soup: My soothing recipe for Egg Drop Soup brings this mild and nourishing classic right to your kitchen. It’s perfect for a light appetizer, healthy side, or anytime you want a light and easy soup option.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Store your leftovers in airtight containers, and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.
- To reheat, place in a covered skillet and heat on low until just heated through. Do not overcook.
For the Stir-Fry:
- ¼ cup vegetable oil, divided
- 1 ½ lbs chicken breasts, trimmed and cubed
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ yellow onion, chopped into 1-inch chunks
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch chunks
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch chunks
- 15 small dried chilies, use less for a milder flavor
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Sesame seeds, for garnish
- Cube chicken breasts and place in a small bowl. Sprinkle with cornstarch and toss until well-coated. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add chicken and cook for about 4 minutes per side, or until golden-brown and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
- In the frying pan, add the chopped peppers and onion; saute for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender in texture. Add the minced garlic, minced ginger, and dried chilies. Cook for an additional minute. Place the cooked chicken back into the pan with the vegetables.
- In a small bowl, mix the stir fry sauce ingredients together until the brown sugar has dissolved.
- Pour the sauce over the stir-fry meat and veggies. Simmer for about 1 minute, or until the sauce slightly thickens.
- Garnish the szechuan chicken with sesame seeds and serve on a bed of rice.