Asian Chilli Chicken is a quick chicken dinner that’s an explosion of (spicy!) sticky, savoury Asian flavours. 287 calories of tasty goodness in 8 minutes flat!
Asian Chilli Chicken
Calling a dish “Asian”-something always feels a little generic, a lazy label that people seem to use loosely if a recipe happens to contain a dash of soy sauce.
I can assure you that there’s more than just soy sauce in this! Ginger, garlic, chilli, sesame, sriracha and lime juice all make the roll call of ingredients. While it may not be strictly traditional to any particular cuisine, the flavours still plant this quick chicken recipe firmly in the “Asian” genre in my book.
It’s got a nice kick of spiciness to it but not “blow your head off” spicy, has a balanced sweet-savoury-tang and a hint of sesame to round things off.
What you need for Asian Chilli Chicken
Here’s what you need:
- Chicken – Two breasts cut in half horizontally to form 4 steaks in total. Alternatively, 4 to 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs or about 500g/1lb chicken tenderloins;
- Garlic and ginger – Aromatics for the flavour base;
- Chilli flakes aka red pepper flakes, and Sriracha – For the spice factor! I like to use both:
- Chilli flakes for the earthy warmth, which is sautéed with the garlic and ginger;
- Sriracha – For the spiciness along with vinegar, garlic and other flavours that are in the sauce. Also, Sriracha thickens the sauce.
- Can’t handle the heat? Skip or reduce the chilli flakes and substitute some of the Sriracha with ketchup. This provides the same sauce thickening qualities. Yes, the spicy sauce at the end will be more sweet but will still have the savoury / tangy qualities of the base recipe – and still be delish!
- Honey – For the sweetness. You can substitute with sugar or maple syrup;
- Sesame – For that nutty flavour;
- Soy sauce – For salt and a bit of flavour. Use all-purpose or light soy sauce here. Don’t use anything labelled “dark soy sauce” (it’s too dark and intense for this recipe) nor “sweet soy sauce” (too sweet). More on different soy sauces here;
- Lime (or rice vinegar) – For the tang; and
- Rice flour or just ordinary wheat flour (plain/all-purpose) – To dust the chicken. This creates a light crust that the sauce can clings to. Without it, the sauce just kind of slips off the skin.
How to make Asian Chilli Chicken
This chicken takes 8 minutes to cook: 4 minutes for the chicken itself, then 4 minutes for the sauce. If it takes any longer than that, you’ve overcooked the chicken – nooooo!!!
- Season chicken – Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper, and a light dusting of flour;
- Pan-sear chicken until golden. For chicken this thin, it should not be any longer than 2 minutes per side;
- Sauté aromatics – Remove the chicken. In the same pan sauté garlic, ginger and chilli flakes until they are golden and smell amazing. But don’t inhale too deeply otherwise the chilli will send you off on a coughing fit!
- Add sauce ingredients – Now add the Sriracha, honey, soy sauce and honey, and simmer for a couple of minutes until it reduces to a fairly thick and syrupy consistency. Because there’s not much sauce, it will thicken very quickly;
- Add lime juice then let it simmer for a minute to thicken again;
- Coat chicken – Return chicken to the pan and turn to coat in the sauce. You’re done!
What to serve with Asian Chilli Chicken
There isn’t loads of sauce because the flavour is quite concentrated, almost like a glaze. But there’s certainly enough to serve this with just plain rice – white, brown or cauliflower rice for a low carb option.
For a flavoured rice side, try one of these:
The greens you spy on the side of the plate are steamed baby bok choy with oyster sauce dressing which, contrary to popular belief, is more than just oyster sauce. Recipe here.
And a few more side salad soptions for you!
If you’re after a works-with-anything option, try my all-rounder Asian Sesame Dressing drizzled over literally any fresh, steamed or otherwise cooked greens. You just can’t go wrong with that dressing! – Nagi x
PS. Once you’ve tried and loved this, make the shrimp/prawn version → Asian Chilli Garlic Prawns
Watch how to make it
Asian Chilli Chicken
- 500g / 1lb breast fillets, skinless and boneless (2 large) (Note 1 other cuts)
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp rice flour, or all-purpose/plain flour (Note 2)
- 1 1/2 tbsp oil , vegetable or canola
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 garlic cloves , finely minced
- 2 tsp ginger , finely minced
- 1 tsp chilli flakes / red pepper flakes (reduce for less spicy)
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tbsp sriracha (sub ketchup for not spicy, Note 3)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce , light or all purpose (Note 4)
- 1/4 cup honey (sub brown sugar)
- 3 tbsp lime juice (sub 2 tbsp rice vinegar)
- Green onion (finely sliced), sesame seeds, fresh chilli, lime wedges
- Season: Cut each chicken breast in half horizontally to form 4 steaks total. Sprinkle each side with salt, pepper and rice flour, shaking off excess.
- Pan-fry: Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook for 2 minutes. Turn and cook the other side for 2 minutes, then remove to a plate.
Sticky Chilli Sauce:
- Sesame oil: Allow the skillet to cool a bit then return to the stove on medium. Add sesame oil and heat.
- Garlic and ginger: Add garlic and ginger, cook for 15 seconds.
- Chilli flakes: Add chilli flakes and cook for 30 seconds until garlic is golden.
- Sriracha, soy and honey: Turn heat up to medium-high. Add water, sriracha, soy sauce and honey, stir well, scraping the base of the pan to dissolve all the golden bits into the liquid.
- Simmer for 2 minutes until it reduce to a thick syrup. Add lime juice, then simmer for a further 30 seconds until it thickens back to a thick syrup.
- Coat chicken: Turn heat off. Return chicken to pan, turning to coat in sauce.
- Serve chicken, topping with remaining sauce in skillet, garnished with green onions, sesame seed and extra lime wedges, if desired.
- Thighs will take longer to cook through, about 4 minutes on the first side, 3 minutes on the second side;
- Tenderloins are (typically) smaller so they should take the around the same time as breast.
- Breast and tenderloin: 65°C / 150°F
- Thigh: 75°C / 167°F
- If you want less spicy, sub some of it with ketchup. If you sub all of it, the dish becomes quite sweet so add a dash of extra lime to compensate (it’s also totally not what this recipe is intended to be, but it’s still tasty!)
- If you want spicy but don’t have sriracha, also sub with ketchup plus any other hot sauce to taste, or cayenne pepper or more chilli flakes.
A few more quick chicken dinners
Life of Dozer
Just another morning in Life of Dozer – sunrise walk along Pittwater.