Chengdu Chicken

Chengdu Chicken

avlxyz / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 7 mins
Total: 27 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
262 Calories
5g Fat
13g Carbs
37g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 262
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 96mg 32%
Sodium 699mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 37g
Vitamin C 4mg 22%
Calcium 69mg 5%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 541mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A Szechuan dish, Chengdu chicken is named after the city of Chengdu, which is the capital of Szechuan province. Hot bean paste is made with fermented soybeans and crushed chilies. (Be sure not to confuse it with chili paste). Serves three to four as a main dish with rice or four to six as part of a multicourse meal.


  • 2 to 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 14 to 16 ounces total

For the Marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon rice wine, or dry sherry

  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper, optional

  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon rice wine, or dry sherry

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water

For the Rest:

  • 1 green onion, spring onion, scallion

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 2 slices ginger

  • 1/2 bunch spinach

  • Salt, to taste

  • 1 tablespoon hot bean paste

  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, or to taste

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground Szechuan pepper, or coriander

Steps to Make It

  1. Pat the chicken breasts dry. Remove any fat. Cut into strips and then into 1-inch cubes.

  2. Add the marinade ingredients, adding the cornstarch last. Marinate the chicken for 20 minutes.

  3. While the chicken is marinating, prepare the sauce and the vegetables. Combine the rice wine or dry sherry, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch into the water. Set aside.

  4. Wash the green onion and chop it into small pieces. Smash and peel the garlic. Chop the garlic and ginger. Wash and drain the spinach.

  5. Heat the wok. When the wok is hot, add 1 tablespoon oil. Add the spinach and sprinkle a bit of salt on top. As soon as the spinach wilts (a few seconds), remove it and set aside.

  6. Clean out the wok and heat 4 tablespoons oil. Add the chicken cubes, stir-frying continually to keep them from sticking. When the chicken changes color and is nearly 80 percent cooked, remove it from the wok. Leave 2 tablespoons oil in the wok.

  7. Add the garlic, ginger and hot bean paste to the wok. Stir-fry briefly until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the chicken back into the wok and mix with the hot bean paste.

  8. Push the chicken back up to the sides and add the sauce mixture in the middle. Give the cornstarch and water mixture a quick re-stir and mix it in the sauce, stirring quickly to thicken.

  9. Mix the sauce with the chicken. Stir in the green onion and sesame oil. Sprinkle the freshly ground Szechuan pepper over top. Serve with the stir-fried spinach.