Seriously flavorful and delicious restaurant-style hunan chicken! Bites of tender chicken and stir-fried veggies tossed in a savory hunan sauce. Super quick and easy to make, ready in just 15 minutes!
What is Hunan Chicken?
Hunan Chicken is a healthy, popular Chinese-American dish made with pieces of tender chicken stir fried with veggies and tossed in a tangy, sweet, and spicy sauce. This dish originates from the Hunan province of China and is traditionally hot, spicy and loaded with chilies. In this Hunan Chicken recipe, you can control the spice level by adding as much chili paste as you like.
What You’ll Need To Make Hunan Chicken
Chicken Breasts – This dinner recipe starts with one to two pounds of boneless and skinless chicken breast. To prepare them, start by patting each chicken breast dry with a paper towel, then thinly slice them into bite-sized pieces. Once cut, season them well with salt and black pepper, before coating in corn starch, then stir-frying!
Corn Starch – Coating this hunan chicken in corn starch before cooking will help each piece cook up a whole lot crispier and delicious! However, if you don’t have corn starch, you can certainly use arrowroot starch or tapioca starch instead. And if you’d like to cut down on the amount of corn starch, you can leave it off the chicken pieces, and instead add just a tablespoon of starch to the sauce ingredients. You’ll need at least a tiny bit of starch in this recipe, to help thicken up the sauce.
Soy Sauce – Any kind of soy sauce you’d like will work! If gluten-free, be sure to use tamari instead of soy sauce. Tamari is the gluten-free equivalent to soy sauce. Or, for a healthier option, use 1/3 cup of coconut aminos instead.
Fish Sauce – Most hunan chicken recipes are made with oyster sauce, which is a thick, dark sauce made of soy sauce, oyster extract, and sugar (lots of sugar!). So to make this classic recipe just a bit healthier, I swapped out the oyster sauce for a tablespoons of honey, plus a teaspoon of fish sauce. The honey helps to sweeten things up, and the fish sauce gives this dish its signature briny flavor. I also figured, while neither oyster or fish sauce are super common in most kitchens, fish sauce would be a bit easier to get your hands on!
Tips and Tricks
- If you have a wok, use it! Wok’s cook quickly, and heat to a higher temperature, which is perfect for this stir-fry recipe. However, if you don’t own a wok (it’s ok, I don’t either), use either a large stainless steel or cast-iron pan instead.
- Once done, if the sauce isn’t as thick as you’d like it to be, then add in some corn starch. But don’t simply add the corn starch in by itself. Instead, whisk 1 tablespoon of corn starch with 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl until dissolved. Then, pour that corn starch slurry into your sauce and give it 2-3 more minutes to thicken.
- Serve this hunan chicken however you’d like! I enjoyed mine over cauliflower rice for an extra healthy meal. Though it also tastes delicious over white rice, brown rice, or even quinoa!
Adjust This Recipe To Your Dietary Needs
Make it Paleo: Turn this into a paleo chicken stir-fry by using tapioca starch instead of corn starch, and coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce.
Make it Vegan: Make a hunan tofu by replacing the chicken breasts with a large block of extra-firm tofu, cut into 2-inch cubes! Also, leave out the fish sauce, and replace the honey with maple syrup.