This is definitely a restaurant favourite for many people. Chili Chicken is a spicy Hakka (Indo-Chinese) dish that’s so flavourful and tasty you won’t believe that it’s also very easy and quick to make at home. The name ‘chili’ in this dish is well earned as it is used in four different forms in this recipe! While this sounds like a lot, it’s actually not a very spicy dish and the spiciness can be adjusted to taste. There is deep frying involved and I’m usually not an advocate for that, but I make an exception for this dish. My mouth is watering just thinking about it so let’s get started.
Chili Chicken (Dry and Saucy Versions) – Recipe
- 1 large chicken breast (or equivalent), cut with the grain into small pieces
- ¼ tsp. ground pepper powder
- 2 tsp. salt, divided
- ½ tsp. ground dry red chilies
- 2 Tbsp. corn starch
- 1 egg
- 1 cup oil
To Make Chili Chicken:
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- ½ large white onion, divided into four and layers separated
- 1 green pepper, cubed
- 8 cloves garlic, grated
- 1” piece ginger, grated
- 4 – 6 green chilies, cut on the diagonal
- 5 – 10 dry red chilies (depending on size), cut on the diagonal
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 – 3 Tbsp. chili or hot sauce
- 3 tsp. sugar
- 4 green onions, cut on the diagonal into 1” pieces
For Saucy Version:
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp. corn starch mixed in ¼ cup water
- In a large bowl mix all marinade ingredients together, set aside.
- Heat 1 cup of oil in a large pan until hot. Test by carefully dropping a piece of chicken into the oil, if it sizzles then oil is ready. Add remaining chicken in one at a time and fry until golden brown. You may have to fry chicken in two batches. Take one piece out and cut in half to check for doneness. Remove to plate covered with paper towel to drain.
- Set a large heavy bottom, non-stick pan over medium heat and add sesame oil, garlic, ginger, green chilies and dry red chilies and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute.
- Turn up heat to medium-high and add onions and green pepper and stir-fry, 2 minutes.
- Add chicken, chili or hot sauce, soy sauce and sugar and stir-fry until chicken is well coated in everything and sugar starts to slightly caramelize and chicken starts to darken. Taste test and season if necessary according to taste until chili chicken is spicy to taste with subtle hints of soy sauce and sugar to balance out the flavours. If not spicy enough add more chili sauce, if too salty add more sugar. Dry version is complete.
- For saucy version, add water and mix well. Add corn starch mixture 1 tsp. at a time (no more than 3 tsp.) until sauce starts to thicken to desired consistency.
Turn off stove, remove from heat and serve topped with sliced green onions and with fried rice or cooked white rice on the side.