Chinese Chicken Recipes

Origins and Varieties

You see, Chinese cuisine is a treasure trove of history, with each recipe telling a tale of flavors and traditions. General Tso’s Chicken embodies the bold flavors thought to have originated from Hunan, yet the dish as we know it is more a Western rendition.

Kung Pao Chicken, from Szechuan, is known for its unmistakable kick of heat and crunch of peanuts. Rumor has it the dish carries the name of a late Qing Dynasty official.

Sesame Chicken, while believed to be an American-Chinese creation, nods to the inventive adaptations using chicken as a staple protein in Chinese cooking.

Each region has its own twist on chicken, reflecting local ingredients and cooking styles—like the use of ginger in Southern China and garlic in the North. These dishes have satisfied hunger and stirred curiosity across generations, demonstrating chicken’s culinary adaptability.

Ingredient Insights

Soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic form the foundation of countless Chinese chicken dishes, offering depth and character to each bite.

Soy sauce brings vibrant umami flavor and helps caramelize the chicken exterior. Sesame oil adds a subtle nuttiness, used sparingly to keep flavors intact. Ginger provides zesty punch, cutting through richness. Garlic gives an earthy note, used generously to influence the dish from the start.

Marinating chicken in these ingredients, along with chili pastes and regional spices, optimizes flavor infusion for juicy, tender meat. In sauce preparation, these components are thickened with cornstarch or flour to achieve that silken texture unique to Chinese cuisine.

Understanding these ingredients is like having a pantry key to unlocking genuine Chinese flavors in your cooking, elevating simple poultry to memorable meals.

Cooking Techniques

Stir-frying, iconic in Chinese cooking, involves cooking small food pieces quickly on high heat in a wok. Constant stirring and tossing prevent burning and allow even cooking, locking in flavors. This method keeps chicken juicy and tender inside, crisp and caramelized outside.

Steaming preserves subtleties, retaining nutrients, moisture, and tenderness. It allows flavors to meld smoothly, achieving a soft, silky chicken texture suitable for lighter dishes like wontons or dumplings.

Deep-frying, used for crispy Sesame Chicken or sticky Orange Chicken, creates a delightful contrast between the crunchy coating and succulent interior. Chicken pieces, coated in batter or seasoned breading, are submerged in hot oil for a golden exterior and incredibly tender center.

These methods create a diverse range of tastes and textures in Chinese cuisine, from the perfect crunch in a stir-fry to velvety smooth steamed dishes.

General Tso’s Chicken Recipe


  • 1 pound chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

For the marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste or ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)


  • 3 green onions, sliced into pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced


  1. Combine chicken with marinade ingredients. Mix well, marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  2. Prepare the sauce by whisking together all ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Toss marinated chicken in 1/4 cup cornstarch, shake off excess.
  4. Heat oil in a pan or wok over medium heat. Fry chicken in batches until golden and crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  5. Remove excess oil, leaving 1 tablespoon. Sauté garlic and ginger until fragrant.
  6. Pour in sauce, simmer until thickened and glossy.
  7. Add fried chicken, toss to coat thoroughly. Cook 2 more minutes.
  8. Stir in green onions.
  9. Serve hot with steamed rice or vegetables.


  • Pat chicken dry before coating for optimal crispiness.
  • Maintain oil temperature between batches.
  • Keep chicken moving while glazing to prevent sticking and coat evenly.

Nutritional information per serving:

  • Calories: 610 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 41 g
  • Protein: 38 g
  • Fat: 32 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5 g
  • Cholesterol: 145 mg
  • Sodium: 1840 mg
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Sugar: 20 g

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe


  • 1 lb diced chicken breast
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 4 dried chili peppers, chopped (adjust to heat preference)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns

For the Marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

Cooking Process:

  1. Combine chicken with marinade. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Sauté peppercorns and chili peppers until fragrant.
  3. Add chicken, stir-fry 3-4 minutes until nearly cooked.
  4. Toss in bell peppers, stir-fry 2 more minutes.
  5. Mix sauce ingredients, pour over chicken and vegetables. Cook until thickened and evenly coated.
  6. Sprinkle peanuts, stir to heat through.

Adjusting Spice Levels:

  • For less spice, reduce or eliminate chili peppers.
  • For extra kick, add more chili peppers or chili sauce.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot, garnished with extra peanuts and green onions. Pairs well with steamed rice or noodles for a satisfying meal with every bite. Customize spice levels for a delicious culinary adventure.

Nutritional information per serving:

  • Calories: 450 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 19 g
  • Protein: 42 g
  • Fat: 24 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4 g
  • Cholesterol: 96 mg
  • Sodium: 1380 mg
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Sugar: 8 g

  1. Wang G. Chinese Cuisine Demystified. Food and Culture. 2010;5(2):78-92.
  2. Liu Y, Zhang L. Regional Variations in Chinese Chicken Dishes. J Ethnic Foods. 2015;17(3):120-128.
  3. Chen H, Li J, Ingredient Profiles in Traditional Chinese Cooking. Int J Gastron Food Sci. 2018;12:45-52.
  4. Xu W. The Art of the Wok: Chinese Cooking Techniques. Culinary Arts J. 2014;22(1):32-41.


Amy & Yan

Preparing Chinese food at home is a breeze. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, you can cook up delicious Chinese dishes in no time. From stir-fries to dumplings, the possibilities are endless. Whether you're a seasoned chef or a beginner, Chinese cuisine is a great way to explore new flavors and culinary techniques. So why not give it a try and impress your friends and family with your homemade Chinese feast?"

Recent Posts