Hunan Chicken Recipe – How to Make Hunan Chicken

Spicy and Savory Hunan Chicken

What is Hunan Chicken?

Hunan chicken recipe is a spicy Chinese chicken recipe made using thinly sliced and fried chicken breast coated in a savory sauce together with some stir-fried vegetables. This Chinese food is similar to other Asian recipes such as the Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe, Szechuan chicken, or the Kung Pao Chicken Recipe; Hunan chicken differs from these other Chinese foods in the sense that it is spicier and savory. See their differences below.

Hunan Chicken Origin and History

Hunan chicken originated from the Hunan province of China; this region is known for its use of garlic, chili peppers, and shallots (onions) in its recipes, hence Hunan chicken incorporates all these ingredients as well. Hunan in Chinese simply means “south of the lake” because Dongting Lake is located in the Northeastern part of the region that is called Hunan today.

Differences between Hunan chicken vs Szechuan chicken

  • Hunan chicken uses less garlic and onions than Szechuan chicken
  • Fresh chili pepper is commonly used in Hunan chicken while dried chili is commonly used in Szechuan chicken
  • Szechuan chicken adds nuts such as cashew nuts or roasted peanuts or seeds such as sesame seeds whereas Hunan chicken uses colorful vegetables such as carrots and broccoli.
  • Szechuan chicken originated from Sichuan province while Hunan chicken originated from Hunan province.
  • Sichuan peppers are added to Szechuan chicken but are not added to Hunan chicken.

Differences between Hunan chicken vs Kung Pao chicken

  • Kung Pao chicken uses Shaoxing wine but Hunan chicken doesn’t use wine
  • Hunan chicken uses baby corn and lots of other vegetables but Kung Pao chicken uses nuts such as peanuts rather than vegetables
  • The sauce for Kung Pao chicken is light and glazes the chicken whereas the sauce for Hunan chicken is thicker and coats the chicken.
  • Hunan chicken is coated with flour prior to frying but Kung Pao chicken is not coated with flour.

Ingredients for Hunan Chicken

Hunan Chicken Ingredients
Hunan Chicken Ingredients
  • 500 grams of Chicken strips
  • 2 cups of Broccoli Florets
  • 1/2 cup of Baby corn
  • 1 chopped Red Bell Pepper
  • 2 tbsp of Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of Cornstarch
  • 3 minced Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp of grated Ginger
  • 2 tbsp of chopped Celery sticks
  • 1/2 cup of Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp of Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp of Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 cup of Chicken Broth
  • 2 tbsp of Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tbsp of Honey
  • 1/4 tsp of Chili Flakes
  • 2 tbsp of hot fresh Chili Sauce
  • 1/4 tsp of Salt

How to Make Hunan Chicken

Seasoning and coating the chicken

  1. Start by adding some seasoning to the chicken strips. Add 1/4 tsp of black pepper powder and 1/4 tsp of salt.
  2. Stir to coat the chicken and the seasonings
  3. Add 1/4 cup of cornstarch (also called Corn flour) into a mixing bowl
  4. Using some hand gloves, transfer the seasoned chicken into the bowl containing the cornflour.
  5. Coat the chicken with the flour
  6. Next, shake off any excess flour and place the coated chicken on a plate

Frying the chicken

  1. Place a pan on the stovetop and add 1/2 cup of olive oil to the pan.
  2. Allow the oil to heat up and then transfer the coated chicken into the oil
  3. Fry the chicken pieces on one side for minutes and then turn over and fry the other side as well until all the sides are golden brown in color.
  4. Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel and keep aside

Making Hunan Sauce

  1. In another bowl, add 2 tbsp of cornstarch, 2 tbsp of rice vinegar, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 2 tbsp of oyster sauce, and 2 tbsp of hot chili sauce.
  2. Also, add 1 tbsp of honey and 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  3. Whisk all the added ingredients for the Hunan sauce to combine nicely and your sauce for Hunan chicken is ready. Keep it aside.

Making the Hunan Chicken

  1. Using the same pan used for frying the chicken earlier, reduce the oil to about 2 tbsp and then add 3 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 tsp of grated ginger; stir fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  2. Add the vegetables: chopped celery sticks, chopped red bell pepper, baby corn, and broccoli florets.
  3. Cook while stirring for 5 minutes or until all the vegetables are slightly wilted.
  4. Next, season with a little bit of salt and 1/4 tsp of chili flakes. Stir to combine and return the fried chicken into the pan.
  5. Add the prepared Hunan sauce into the pan and stir to combine and coat with all the ingredients and the fried chicken pieces.
  6. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 to 5 minutes to reheat the chicken and also thicken the sauce.
  7. You can turn off the heat after cooking for 5 minutes. Your easy Hunan chicken is ready; you can garnish with some sesame seeds and serve with boiled rice.

Step by step on How to Make Hunan Chicken with Pictures

  • Season chicken

MIx the chicken with the seasonings
Season the chicken by adding 1/4 tsp of black pepper powder and 1/4 tsp of salt; then stir to coat the chicken and the seasonings
  • Coat the chicken with the cornflour

Coat chicken with the cornflour
Add 1/4 cup of cornstarch (also called Corn flour) into a mixing bowl;
Using some hand gloves, transfer the seasoned chicken into the bowl containing the cornflour and coat the chicken with the flour

Next, shake off any excess flour and place the coated chicken on a plate

Keep the coated chicken on a plate and set it aside
  • Fry the chicken pieces

Fry the chicken pieces until they are golden brown
Fry the chicken pieces on one side for minutes and then turn over and fry the other side as well until all the sides are golden brown in color.

Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel and keep aside

DRain the fired chicken on a paper towel
Drain the chicken on a paper towel
  • Make the Hunan Sauce

Preparing Hunan Sauce
In another bowl, add 2 tbsp of cornstarch, 2 tbsp of rice vinegar, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 2 tbsp of oyster sauce, and 2 tbsp of hot chili sauce.
Also, add 1 tbsp of honey and 1/2 cup of chicken broth
Whisk all the added ingredients for the Hunan sauce to combine nicely. Keep aside.
  • Making Hunan Chicken

Stir fry the vegetables
Using the same pan used for frying the chicken earlier, reduce the oil to about 2 tbsp and then add 3 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 tsp of grated ginger; stir fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the vegetables: chopped celery sticks, chopped red bell pepper, baby corn, and broccoli florets. Cook while stirring for 5 minutes or until all the vegetables are slightly wilted. Next, season with a little bit of salt and 1/4 tsp of chili flakes. Stir to combine and return the fried chicken into the pan.
  • Add the fried chicken and prepared Hunan sauce into the pan

and stir to combine and coat with all the ingredients and the fried chicken pieces.
Cover and cook on low heat for 3 to 5 minutes to reheat the chicken and also thicken the sauce.

Add the sauce to the vegetables
Add the prepared Huna sauce into the pan as well as the fried chicken and then stir to combine and coat with all the ingredients and the fried chicken pieces.
Cover and cook on low heat for 3 to 5 minutes to reheat the chicken and also thicken the sauce.
  • Cook until the Hunan Chicken is thickened

Hunan chicken on a plate
You can turn off the heat after cooking for 5 minutes. Your easy Hunan chicken is ready; you can garnish with some sesame seeds and serve with boiled rice.
Spicy and Savory Hunan Chicken

Hunan Chicken Recipe

Bongdap Nansel Nanzip
Hunan chicken recipe is a spicy Chinese chicken recipe made using thinly sliced and fried chicken breast coated in a spicy and savory sauce known as the Hunan sauce, together with some stir-fried vegetables such as carrots or broccoli. This spicy Chinese food is similar to other Asian recipes such as the Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe, Szechuan chicken, or the Kung Pao Chicken Recipe; Hunan chicken differs from these other Chinese foods in the sense that it is spicier and savory. See their differences below.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4
Calories 337 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 500 grams boneless Chicken breast Cut into strips
  • 2 cups Broccoli Florets
  • ½ cup Baby corn
  • 1 whole Red Bell Pepper chopped
  • 2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • ¼ cup Cornstarch
  • 3 cloves of Garlic minced
  • ½ tsp of grated Ginger
  • 2 tbsp chopped Celery Sticks
  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • ¼ tsp Black Pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • ½ cup Chicken Broth
  • 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • ¼ tsp Chili Flakes
  • 2 tbsp of hot fresh Chili Sauce
  • ¼ tsp Salt

Instructions
 

Seasoning and coating the chicken

  • Start by adding some seasoning to the chicken strips. Add 1/4 tsp of black pepper powder and 1/4 tsp of salt.
  • Stir to coat the chicken and the seasonings
  • Add 1/4 cup of cornstarch (also called Corn flour) into a mixing bowl
  • Using some hand gloves, transfer the seasoned chicken into the bowl containing the cornflour.
  • Coat the chicken with the flour

Frying the chicken

  • Place a pan on the stovetop and add 1/2 cup of olive oil to the pan.
  • Allow the oil to heat up and then transfer the coated chicken into the oil
  • Fry the chicken pieces on one side for minutes and then turn over and fry the other side as well until all the sides are golden brown in color.
  • Remove from the oil and drain on a paper towel and keep aside

Making Hunan Sauce

  • In another bowl, add 2 tbsp of cornstarch, 2 tbsp of rice vinegar, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 2 tbsp of oyster sauce, and 2 tbsp of hot chili sauce.
  • Also, add 1 tbsp of honey and 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • Whisk all the added ingredients for the Hunan sauce to combine nicely and your sauce for Hunan chicken is ready. Keep it aside.

Making the Hunan Chicken

  • Using the same pan used for frying the chicken earlier, reduce the oil to about 2 tbsp and then add 3 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 tsp of grated ginger; stir fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Add the vegetables: chopped celery sticks, chopped red bell pepper, baby corn, and broccoli florets.
  • Cook while stirring for 5 minutes or until all the vegetables are slightly wilted.
  • Next, season with a little bit of salt and 1/4 tsp of chili flakes. Stir to combine and return the fried chicken into the pan.
  • Add the prepared Huna sauce into the pan and stir to combine and coat with all the ingredients and the fried chicken pieces.
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 3 to 5 minutes to reheat the chicken and also thicken the sauce.
  • You can turn off the heat after cooking for 5 minutes. Your easy Hunan chicken is ready; you can garnish with some sesame seeds and serve with boiled rice.

Video

Notes

  1. Freezing the chicken breast for 30 minutes makes it easier to cut into thin slices
  2. Do not overcrowd the pan while frying the chicken pieces because the heat will steam them instead of frying them.
  3. Additional vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, or eggplant can be added.
Keyword Hunan Chicken

Top Questions Answered

What is in Hunan Chicken?

Hunan chicken sauce contains soy sauce, cornstarch, rice wine vinegar, chicken broth, honey, chili sauce, and oyster sauce. The chicken is stir-fried and then cooked for a few minutes in the Hunan sauce together with some stir-fried vegetables.

What is hotter Hunan or Szechuan?

Hunan chicken is hotter than Szechuan chicken. The amount of hot chili pepper used in Hunan chicken is more than the amount used in Szechuan. Fresh pepper is used in Hunan chicken (from the chili sauce) whereas dried chili is used in Szechuan; all these make Hunan chicken hotter.

What does Hunan sauce taste like?

Hunan chicken has a spicy and savory taste largely from the peppers and sauces used for making it.

Are there peanuts in Hunan chicken?

Peanuts are not added to Hunan chicken but are added in Kung Pao and Szechuan chicken recipes. Vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and baby corn are additions to the Hunan chicken recipe.

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