This is a easy and delicious Mongolian chicken recipe that’s both sweet and savory. A delicious alternative to the classic Mongolian beef preparation with ingredients that pack a punch! Cook time – about 20 minutes.
What is Mongolian chicken?
The question should actually be what is Mongolian beef?, which is a popular dish served in Chinese-American restaurants.
Made with sliced steak (usually flank) and chopped scallions (other vegetables such as onions and bell peppers can also be included), this Chinese-American dish is cooked in a sauce consisting of soy sauce, sugar, hoisin sauce and chilies, or something similar to that flavor profile.
You have probably seen it on the menu at P.F. Changs, and likely ate it as a kid in your local Chinese restaurant. The sweet and savory combination was created to cater to the American palate as true authentic Chinese food is rarely sweet. As you can see here, I’ve used chicken breasts in place of beef.
However, it works well with tofu as well. So feel free to use the protein you prefer. It’s the irresistible Mongolian sauce that will keep you coming back for more!
Why is it called Mongolian if it’s not from Mongolia?
From what I gather, it’s called Mongolian beef because of the way it’s made, not because of the way it tastes.
In 1951, the method of stir-frying meats and veggies on a large, open surface (similar to teppanyaki) first appeared in Taipei, Taiwan. This method reminded them of Mongolian barbecue and their traditions and thus, is loosely based on that.
Just like General Tso’s chicken, it looks like the term got lost in translation somewhere along the way – despite never having made an appearance in China!
The result is perfection: tender chicken pieces that are nutty, sweet, savory and the perfect companion to sliced green onions!
Mongolian chicken is another quick recipe I have recently added to my lazy/busy day menu because it’s so satisfying yet requires very little prep work in the kitchen. It’s not a messy recipe to make and the flavors are familiar enough to please most people’s palate.
Ingredients for Mongolian Chicken
- Chicken: I use boneless, skinless chicken breast for this recipe but feel free to use beef or extra firm tofu.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch makes the meat juicier and the sauce thicker. You can also use potato starch for the same result.
- Oil: I recommend a neutral oil such vegetable oil or grapeseed oil. Peanut oil will also work for this recipe.
- Fresh ginger: Chopped ginger adds a little spiciness and a refreshing element.
- Garlic: Every stir fry needs a little garlic! It’s one of those aromatics that contribute to the overall flavor of the dish.
- Soy sauce: You can use regular soy sauce or dark soy sauce (the Chinese type, not Thai since that’s too sweet). My go-to soy sauce is Yamasa.
- Chicken stock: Use low-sodium chicken stock, or, if you only have regular chicken stock, mix half of it with water to make it less salty.
- Sugar: You will need a little brown sugar or regular granulated sugar to balance the savory and saltiness of the sauce.
- Sesame oil: Sesame oil is drizzled in the end to add nuttiness.
- Scallions: Chopped scallions (or green onions) add sweetness and a nice crunch.
As with every recipe, I highly suggest trying the original recipe first. However, it’s always okay to get creative in the kitchen. Here are other ingredients that can be found in other mongolian chicken recipes if you’re looking to shake things up (and they can usually be found at any major grocery store):
- Red pepper flakes
- Sesame seeds
- Chili peppers
- Tamari sauce
- Asian sweet chili sauce
- Savory brown sauce
- Sweet savory sauce
How to Make Mongolian Chicken
Scroll all the way down to the recipe card for the full recipe.
- Gather all of your kitchen tools and ingredients.
- Place the sliced chicken in a large bowl and dust with cornstarch. Use a spoon or your fingers to toss the chicken and cornstarch until all the pieces are evenly coated.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce, chicken stock, and brown sugar, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
- Turn the heat off, stir in the sesame oil and scallions. Transfer to a plate and serve.
What makes Mongolian chicken so delicious is partly due to the way the chicken is prepared. Instead of cooking it bare in a frying pan, the chicken is tossed in cornstarch and left there for a few minutes.
This helps to make the chicken juicy and velvety once it’s added to a pan. The cornstarch also thickens the sauce which helps stick to the meat better.
What to serve with Mongolian Chicken
This easy Mongolian chicken recipe goes perfectly with plain white rice. Top it off with green onions and you’ll have a classic, delicious dish on your hands. You can also use brown rice, cauliflower rice, or any other type of rice. I would even suggest you try it with pasta! For tutorials on how to cook steamed rice effortlessly, check out these posts:
Dishes to Pair with Mongolian Chicken
Here are some of my favorite Asian dishes that I like to pair with this chicken stir fry:
Dishes to pair with Mongolian chicken
Did you like this Mongolian chicken recipe? Did you make changes you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comment section below!Print
This is a quick and delicious Mongolian chicken recipe that’s both sweet and savory.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped bite size
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 4 stalks scallions, chopped bite size on the bias
- In a bowl, mix chicken pieces with cornstarch until all the pieces are evenly coated.
- In a pan over medium-high heat, add oil and when the oil is hot, add chicken. Cook until chicken is cooked through – about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add soy sauce, chicken stock and brown sugar and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until sauce thickens.
- Turn the heat off, add sesame oil and scallions. Stir well and serve with white rice.
Store the leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 485
- Sugar: 10.1g
- Sodium: 1971.7mg
- Fat: 15.7g
- Saturated Fat: 4.1g
- Unsaturated Fat: 3.5g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 28g
- Fiber: 0.9g
- Protein: 54.9g
- Cholesterol: 174mg
Keywords: chicken stir fry