Yu Shiang Chicken Recipe

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yu shiang chicken recipe



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Yu Shiang Chicken, also known as Yuxiang Chicken, is a classic Chinese dish hailing from the Sichuan province. Renowned for its bold flavors, this dish combines a delightful mix of spicy, sweet, and sour elements that tantalize the taste buds. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating this flavorful and aromatic dish in your own kitchen.


For the marinade:

300 grams of chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon chili bean paste (doubanjiang)
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water (slurry)

For the stir-fry:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, julienned
4-5 dried red chilies (optional, for extra heat)
3-4 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, thinly sliced (optional)
1/2 cup water chestnuts, sliced (optional)


Step 1: Marinate the Chicken

In a bowl, combine the chicken slices with soy sauce, rice wine, and cornstarch. Mix well to ensure the chicken is evenly coated.

Let the chicken marinate for at least 15 minutes. This helps tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor.

Step 2: Prepare the Sauce

In a separate bowl, mix together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, chili bean paste, hoisin sauce, and chicken broth.

Stir until the sugar is dissolved and all the ingredients are well combined.

Set aside the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce later.

Step 3: Stir-fry the Chicken

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the marinated chicken slices to the wok and stir-fry until they are just cooked through.

This should take about 3-4 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the wok and set it aside.

Step 4: Stir-fry the Vegetables

In the same wok, add the remaining tablespoon of oil.

Add minced garlic and ginger, stir-frying for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the dried red chilies (if using) and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.

Add the bell peppers, carrot, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts. Stir-fry for about 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are tender-crisp.

Step 5: Combine and Finish the Dish

Return the cooked chicken to the wok with the vegetables.

Pour the prepared sauce over the chicken and vegetables, stirring to coat everything evenly.

Add the cornstarch slurry and stir until the sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes.

Sprinkle chopped scallions on top and give it a final stir.

Serving Suggestions

Yu Shiang Chicken is best served hot, accompanied by steamed white rice or fried rice. The dish’s vibrant colors and robust flavors make it a feast for both the eyes and the palate. Pair it with a simple side of stir-fried greens or a light cucumber salad to balance the meal.

Tips for Success

Doubanjiang: This chili bean paste is a key ingredient in Sichuan cuisine, providing the dish with its distinctive spicy and savory flavor. Look for it in Asian grocery stores or online.

Vegetables: Feel free to customize the vegetables based on your preference or what you have on hand. Snow peas, baby corn, or mushrooms can be great additions.

Heat Level: Adjust the number of dried red chilies according to your spice tolerance.

Removing the seeds from the chilies can also reduce the heat.

Yu Shiang Chicken is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of Sichuan cuisine. Its intricate balance of flavors and textures makes it a beloved dish worldwide. By following this recipe, you can bring a taste of Sichuan into your home and impress your family and friends with your culinary skills. Enjoy your cooking adventure and savor every bite of this delightful dish!

Exploring Variations of Yu Shiang Chicken

While the classic Yu Shiang Chicken is a delightful dish, you can explore various adaptations to suit your taste or dietary preferences. Here are some ideas to inspire your culinary creativity:

Vegetarian Yu Shiang

For a vegetarian twist, substitute the chicken with tofu, mushrooms, or a medley of vegetables.

Firm tofu or shiitake mushrooms absorb the sauce wonderfully, making for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Yu Shiang Beef or Pork

The Yu Shiang sauce pairs well with other proteins too. Thinly sliced beef or pork can be used in place of chicken. Marinate and cook them similarly to the chicken, ensuring they are tender and flavorful.

Spicy Yu Shiang

For those who love extra heat, consider adding fresh chilies or increasing the amount of chili bean paste. A sprinkle of Sichuan peppercorns can also add a unique, tongue-tingling sensation typical of Sichuan cuisine.

Healthier Yu Shiang

To make a healthier version of Yu Shiang Chicken, reduce the amount of oil used and opt for low-sodium soy sauce. You can also increase the vegetable content, adding more nutrient-rich options like broccoli or spinach.

Cooking Tips and Techniques

To perfect your Yu Shiang Chicken, here are some additional tips and techniques:

Use Fresh Ingredients

Fresh garlic, ginger, and vegetables make a significant difference in the flavor and texture of the dish. Whenever possible, opt for fresh ingredients over canned or pre-packaged alternatives.

High Heat Stir-Fry

Stir-frying at high heat ensures that the chicken and vegetables cook quickly while retaining their crispness. Make sure your wok or skillet is hot before adding the ingredients to achieve that characteristic stir-fry texture.

Balance the Flavors

Taste the sauce before adding it to the stir-fry. Adjust the sweetness, saltiness, or acidity according to your preference. The balance of flavors is crucial to the success of the dish.

Prep Ahead

Having all your ingredients prepped and ready to go makes the cooking process smoother and more enjoyable. Since stir-frying is a quick process, preparation is key to ensuring nothing is overcooked or burnt.

Cultural Significance

Yu Shiang Chicken, like many traditional Chinese dishes, carries cultural significance. The term “Yu Shiang” translates to “fish-fragrant,” though the dish contains no fish. This name reflects the origin of the seasoning, which was traditionally used in fish dishes. Over time, the flavorful combination became popular in other dishes, leading to the creation of Yu Shiang Chicken.

Sichuan cuisine, known for its bold and complex flavors, often incorporates ingredients like chili peppers, garlic, and fermented beans. These elements are evident in Yu Shiang Chicken, showcasing the region’s culinary style. Sharing this dish with family and friends can be a wonderful way to introduce them to the rich traditions of Sichuan cooking.

Yu Shiang Chicken is more than just a meal; it’s an experience that brings the vibrant flavors of Sichuan to your table. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or experiment with variations, the key is to embrace the bold and harmonious flavors that define this dish. Enjoy the process of creating and savoring Yu Shiang Chicken, and let it transport you to the heart of Sichuan cuisine.

Pairing Suggestions for Yu Shiang Chicken

To elevate your dining experience, consider pairing Yu Shiang Chicken with complementary dishes and beverages. Here are some ideas to create a well-rounded meal:

Side Dishes

Steamed Rice: A classic accompaniment that balances the bold flavors of Yu Shiang Chicken.

Fried Rice: For a more indulgent option, pair it with fried rice featuring vegetables, eggs, and perhaps some extra protein like shrimp or pork.

Stir-Fried Greens: Simple, lightly seasoned greens like bok choy, spinach, or Chinese broccoli can provide a refreshing contrast.

Cucumber Salad: A cool, crisp cucumber salad with a tangy dressing can help cleanse the palate between bites.

Spring Rolls: Crispy spring rolls filled with vegetables or shrimp make a delightful starter.


Hot and Sour Soup: This flavorful soup complements the spicy and sour notes of Yu Shiang Chicken.

Egg Drop Soup: A lighter option that pairs well with the dish without overpowering it.


Green Tea: Its subtle flavor and slight bitterness can balance the richness of the dish.

Jasmine Tea: Offers a floral aroma that pairs well with the aromatic elements of Yu Shiang Chicken.

Chilled White Wine: A crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a slightly sweet Riesling can complement the flavors beautifully.

Beer: A light lager or a slightly hoppy beer can also be a great match, cutting through the spiciness of the dish.

Presentation Tips

The presentation of Yu Shiang Chicken can enhance the dining experience. Here are some tips to make your dish look as good as it tastes:

Garnish: Use fresh herbs like cilantro or scallions to add a pop of color and freshness.

Serving Dish: Serve the dish in a colorful, shallow bowl or plate to showcase the vibrant ingredients.

Arranged Vegetables: Arrange the vegetables neatly and mix them with the chicken for a visually appealing presentation.

Sprinkle of Sesame Seeds: Adding a light sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds can enhance both the look and flavor.

Cooking with Kids

Yu Shiang Chicken can be a fun dish to prepare with children, teaching them about different flavors and cooking techniques. Here are some child-friendly steps:

Marinade Mixing: Let the kids help mix the marinade and coat the chicken.

Vegetable Preparation: Supervise them as they wash and help prepare the vegetables.

Sauce Stirring: Allow them to measure and mix the sauce ingredients.

Taste Testing: Encourage them to taste the sauce and suggest adjustments.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Too Spicy: If the dish is too spicy, add a little sugar or serve it with a cooling side like cucumber salad.

Too Salty: Balance excessive saltiness by adding a bit more sugar or rice vinegar.

Sauce Not Thickening: Ensure the cornstarch slurry is well-mixed and that the sauce is brought to a boil for it to activate.

Chicken Overcooked: Slice the chicken thinly and stir-fry quickly to prevent it from becoming tough.

Creating Yu Shiang Chicken at home is not only a delicious endeavor but also an opportunity to delve into the rich culinary traditions of Sichuan cuisine. Whether you’re an experienced cook or a novice in the kitchen, this recipe offers a wonderful way to explore bold flavors and refine your cooking skills. Enjoy the process, savor the results, and share the joy of this classic dish with loved ones.


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