This easy Mongolian chicken recipe features crispy fried chicken coated in a sweet and savory sauce with deep aromas from the garlic, ginger, and red chiles. This dish is simple to make yet packed with flavor, and makes for an easy takeout favorite to make in the comfort of your home.
What is Mongolian Chicken?
Mongolian chicken is a popular stir fry dish that’s commonly found in Chinese-American restaurants in North America.
This popular dish brings together succulent pieces of chicken that’s crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside that’s drenched in a sweet and savory sauce to be served over a bowl of steamed rice or noodles.
Although Mongolian beef and chicken are both my favorites when ordering takeout, this Mongolian chicken recipe is often my go-to for weeknight dinners, as it requires no marinating time as the beef does.
Despite its quick cooking process, this Chinese Mongolian chicken is melt-in-your-mouth tender and packed with flavor in every bite, which makes it to be one of my favorite chicken dishes to make at home.
Where did Mongolian chicken come from?
Similar to Mongolian Beef, this dish has no direct connection to Mongolian cuisine but named after a stir fried dish called Mongolian barbeque or Meng Gu Kao Rou (蒙古烤肉), which originated in Taiwan.
When Mongolian barbecue restaurants first appeared in Taiwan, one of the meat dishes that were developed was Mongolian beef, in which Mongolian chicken is a popular variation of.
That being said, none of the ingredients or preparation methods were drawn from traditional Mongolian cuisine but from Chinese cuisine.
With respect to its origins, this dish is more readily known as a popular take-out dish in America in today’s time, rather than a traditional dish that is familiar to those of a Mongolian background.
What do I need to make Mongolian chicken?
Despite its incredible flavors and texture, Chinese Mongolian chicken calls for simple ingredients from your kitchen and comes together in a single wok. Here is everything you’ll need for this recipe:
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs: cubed or sliced, and seasoned with salt and pepper.
- I prefer using chicken thighs over breasts as I prefer the chicken to be extra juicy and tender, but feel free to use chicken breasts if you prefer a denser, more meaty texture.
- Cornstarch: to crisp up the chicken and to thicken the sauce.
- Having a layer of cornstarch around the meat helps to lock in its juices and protects it from the intense heat of the wok.
- This results in extra flavorful, tender, and evenly cooked pieces of meat, as well as a glossy sauce to coat the stir fry.
- Vegetable oil: or any neutral oil with a high smoke point such as sunflower oil, corn oil, or canola oil.
- Ginger, garlic, and dried chiles: for the aromatics. I added lightly crushed dried chiles to my stir fry, but feel free to use fresh chiles or red pepper flakes instead.
- Green onion: to finish.
- Hoisin sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil: for the sauce.
And that’s it! This recipe for Mongolian chicken is incredibly simple and quick to prepare, which makes it the perfect dish to add to your dinner rotation.
Tips to make the best Mongolian chicken
Prepare all your ingredients in advance.
This stir fry dish comes together quickly in a hot pan, so it’s best practice to have all the ingredients prepared including the sauce before heating up your wok.
This will prevent overcooking the aromatic vegetables or meat during the cooking process, and makes for a seamless cooking experience altogether.
If you are serving the chicken with any side dishes, I recommend having the sides prepared in advance or on a separate stove so that the chicken can be served fresh as soon as it comes off the pan.
Add more vegetables if you prefer!
This Mongolian chicken recipe stays true to the restaurant version in having the chicken as the main highlight, but you can absolutely add more vegetables to the stir fry if you prefer.
Some great additions include mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, red bell peppers, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, or carrots.
Try to use as many fresh ingredients as you can.
Using fresh aromatic vegetables such as fresh green onions, garlic, and ginger will yield the most rich and flavorful results.
I used dried chiles in this recipe, but if you have any fresh chili peppers on hand, slice the chiles and add them to the stir fry instead.
I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe for Mongolian chicken, and as usual, please feel free to leave a comment below or message me on Instagram with any questions you may have. Happy cooking everyone!
Other easy Dinner recipes you may like:
- Chinese Tomato Egg Stir Fry
- Dakdoritang (Spicy Korean Chicken Stew)
- Yaki Udon (Stir Fried Udon Noodles)
- Melt-In-Your-Mouth Japanese Hamburger Steak
- Bulgogi Beef Udon Stir Fry
Easy Mongolian Chicken
- 1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breast, cubed or sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp ginger minced
- 2 dried chiles crushed, or fresh chiles
- 1/2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup water, for the slurry
- 1 green onion chopped
- toasted sesame seeds optional, for garnish
- Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, prepare the cornstarch slurry by mixing 1/2 tbsp cornstarch with 1/2 cup water.
- In a large bowl, add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Add cornstarch and toss to coat evenly.
- Heat oil in a large wok or pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for about 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
- Drain the oil from the wok leaving 1 tablespoon behind, and set over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant. Lightly toast the dried chili and mix in the sauce.
- Mix in the cornstarch slurry and stir continuously until the sauce is thickened. Add the chicken and toss to coat evenly. Turn off the heat and finish with green onions. Garnish and enjoy!
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