This Szechuan chicken stir fry hits the spot whenever I’m craving spicy hot food. It’s easy Chinese food that’s packed with flavor and vibrant colors and only takes 25 minutes from start to finish!
I love Szechuan food but it wasn’t until I lived in Taipei that I was introduced to a different style of Chinese cuisine.
I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere, Canada, so my knowledge of Chinese food was very limited until I was in my early 20s. I traveled to Hong Kong at the age of 12 but don’t remember much about the food, except for one dinner in a jumbo floating boat where plates of food made a brief appearance at our table before being snatched away, faster than I had time to taste them.
Beside, Hong Kong offers Cantonese food which is a completely different cuisine than Szechuan. Cantonese food is milder and less pungent in general (at least from what I experienced during the three years I lived there).
Szechuan cuisine is a different beast – the food is punchy and they don’t hold back on spices or heat. Every dish is an explosion of flavor and the food will often leave with a tingly and numbing sensation.
Szechuan is a very simple dish that I love making because of its vibrant red color and smoky, nutty, and spicy taste.
Not only do I love the flavor profile, I’m also all over the texture of their chicken which is why I thought of sharing this Szechuan chicken recipe with you.
What is Szechuan Chicken?
Szechuan chicken is a spicy dish that hails from China’s Sichuan province. The dish is made of chicken that has been marinated and dipped in egg and cornstarch, and stir fried with dried chili peppers and a simple soy and sesame sauce.
Szechuan Chicken vs Hunan Chicken
It’s easy to confuse Szechuan chicken and Hunan chicken since the dishes are very similar. The way the chicken is prepared is the same and they are both served with dried red chili peppers. However, when it comes to taste Szechuan chicken is less spicy and more sweet than the Hunan version.
This recipe is less spicy 🌶 than the original Szechuan chicken 🌶
Because I have a low tolerance for Sichuan peppercorns and dried chilies (I love spicy food but up to a certain point) I omitted them from the dish and used spicy chili crisp instead.
Spicy chili crisp is a chili oil condiment packed with chilis, dried onions, garlic, spice and roasted soy beans. It’s one of those sauces you can’t get enough of. In fact, spicy chili crisp is so loved that it’s quickly becoming China’s top-selling sauce!
Adding spicy chili crisp to my Szechuan chicken infuses the dish with plenty of savory and smoky flavors.
It’s seriously good.
Ingredients For Szechuan Chicken
- Chicken: skinless breast of fillet are better because they marinate well and absorb a lot of flavor.
- Egg: To coat the chicken so it doesn’t dry out when stir fried.
- Cornstarch: This gives the chicken its velvety texture.
- Oil: You can use any type of neutral oil for this dish.
- Garlic: To add pungency and nuttiness.
- Ginger: This adds a touch of additional heat to this already spicy dish!
- Onion: Thinly sliced onions to absorb the spicy and savory flavors.
- Bell Pepper: Bell peppers add a nice crunch and some sweetness.
- Shiitake Mushrooms: These are optional – but I really love how they absorb the sauce and explode with flavor in my mouth after each bite.
- Scallions: Chopped green onions are added at the end for color and a nice crunch.
- Szechuan Chicken Sauce: A combination of chili paste, spicy chili crisp, chicken stock, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and cornstarch.
How To Make Szechuan Chicken
- Add the chicken to the whisked eggs and cornstarch and let sit for 15 minutes. This technique is called velveting.
- Mix the ingredients for the Szechuan sauce in a bowl.
- Pan fry the chicken until it’s cooked through and golden brown on the outside. Transfer it to a plate.
- Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes and return the chicken to the pan.
- Add the sauce while stirring for 1 minute, until it bubbles and thickens.
- Serve with white or brown rice. Enjoy!
Add a handful of dried red chilis for a spicier dish. Add them at the same time as you return the cooked chicken to the pan.
You can also serve this dish with congee, Ben likes to use Szechuan chicken as a topping for it.
Other Spicy Dishes Like This Szechuan Chicken
If you enjoyed this dish, I recommend trying these other fiery recipes:
- Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)
- Spicy Vegan Sichuan Noodles
- Stir Fry Beef With Spicy Hoisin Sauce
- Crispy Honey Sriracha Tofu
- Smacked Cucumber with Chili Oil
You can make this Szechuan chicken recipe ahead of time and keep it refrigerated until meal time. It will keep for up to 3 days.
Did you like this Szechuan Chicken Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!
Szechuan Chicken Recipe
Colorful veggies and chile paste make this Szechuan chicken vibrant and deliciously spicy! And it only takes 25 minutes to make from start to finish!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 people 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Stir frying
- Cuisine: Chinese
- 1/2 pound skinless boneless chicken breast or fillets (chopped bite size)
- 1 large egg (whisked)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 thumb size ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 fresh shiitake mushrooms (optional), chopped
- 3 scallions, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili paste such as sambal oelek, 2 tablespoons for extra spicy
- 2 tablespoons spicy chili crisp
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- In a bowl, combine egg and cornstarch and season with a little salt and pepper. Add chicken pieces and marinade for 15 minutes.
- Add all the ingredients for the sauce into a bowl and whisk until well blended.
- In a large pan over medium high heat, add 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Drop chicken pieces and cook until both sides are golden brown. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
- Add remaining 1 tbsp vegetable oil to the pan (still over medium high heat) and add garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 minute and add onions, green and red bell pepper and shiitake mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Return chicken to the pan and add sauce. Stir and coat vegetables and chicken for 1 minute and turn the heat off.
- Transfer to a plate or bowl and serve Szechuan chicken with a side of white rice.
This Szechuan Chicken Recipe will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 155
- Sugar: 3.1g
- Sodium: 519.7mg
- Fat: 6.5g
- Saturated Fat: 1.9g
- Unsaturated Fat: 1.3g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 7.6g
- Fiber: 1.3g
- Protein: 16.2g
- Cholesterol: 91.8mg