That Spicy Chick

Chili Garlic Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry

This Chili Garlic Chicken & Broccoli Stir-fry is quick and easy to make in 30 minutes and EXPLODING with savory-sweet and spicy flavors with a hint of tang! Tender chicken pieces, broccoli and fragrant aromatics get stir-fried in a lip-smacking and addictive spicy garlicky sauce. Perfect for busy weeknights and SO good with steamed rice!

I’m addicted to this Chili Garlic Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry and not ashamed of it.

I mean, who can resist tender pieces of chicken, crisp-tender broccoli florets, fresh garlic, ginger, spring onion and chilies tossed in the most irresistible sauce with garlicky chili flavors and toasted sesame aromas?!

This Sichuan-inspired dish is also umami loaded thanks to Sichuan Pixian dou ban jiang (chili bean sauce) and savory and tangy Lao Gan Ma’s pickled chilies sauce. ❤️

It was inspired by my Sichuan Dry-Braised Shrimp and boasts the same lip-smacking savory-sweet sauce and chili flavors. (A must try for shrimp lovers!) Like the shrimp version of this dish, it’s great for easy weeknight dinners, comes together in 30 minutes, and super delicious with steamed rice!

While it tastes amazing right after cooking with a bowl of steamed rice, the leftovers are tasty too even when reheated in the microwave the next day.

Though I doubt you’ll have any if everyone gobbles it up like they do in my home! 😉

Closeup front view of plate with spicy chicken and broccoli stir-fry.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Quick and easy to make! All you need is 30 minutes to get this on the table! Perfect for busy weeknights!
  • Tender and flavorful chicken pieces. Marinating the chicken with potato starch and sauces creates a thin velvety coating which allows the meat to stay tender on the inside during cooking. Using sesame oil and Shao Xing rice wine infuses the meat with flavor too.
  • Perfectly cooked crisp-tender broccoli. Blanching the broccoli florets briefly ensures that they won’t take long to cook in the final stir-fry and will be cooked to perfection.
  • Customizable. You can swap the broccoli for any of your favorite stir-fry friendly veggies and the chicken for your favorite protein.
  • Better than takeout! This dish is healthier than a chicken and broccoli dish from a Chinese takeout restaurant and it tastes AMAZING!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutes

Labeled ingredients for Chili Garlic Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry on a wooden board.
Fresh, Fridge and Pantry Ingredients
  • Marinated Chicken. I used skinless chicken thigh fillets as they’re more tender and flavorful than chicken breasts. However, since this is a quick stir-fry, diced boneless and skinless chicken breasts can be used and won’t dry out. I’ve marinated the chicken with low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, kosher salt, potato starch (or use corn starch), and a splash of sesame oil.
  • Aromatics: We have the Chinese holy trinity – spring onion (scallion/green onion), garlic, and ginger. We also have fresh red hot chilies, which you can adjust the quantity of depending on your heat level preference. Thai Bird’s Eye red chilies or any other small hot red chilies that you can get easily in your area will work.
  • Broccoli: You can chop your own florets from stalks like I did. Or buy and use a bag of pre-chopped broccoli for a short cut.
  • Peanut Oil: Any neutral oil with a high smoke point can be used.
  • Sichuan Pixian Dou Ban Jiang (Chili Bean Paste): A salty and spicy paste that is slightly sour. It’s made with chili peppers and fermented fava beans and comes in plastic jars. Find it in an Asian or Chinese supermarket, or order a jar online. Although you can use Lee Kum Kee brand chili bean sauce since it is widely available, note that it is sweeter than authentic Sichuan Pixian dou ban jiang due to having several additional ingredients. If using it, you will likely need to use less white sugar for the sauce. 
  • Lao Gan Ma Pickled Chilies Sauce: This highly flavorful and addictive sauce is salty, tangy and spicy! Try to find it in an Asian or Chinese supermarket. Alternatively, grab a jar online. The closest substitute would be sambal oelek, a spicy chili sauce/paste from Indonesia which is made with crushed or chopped chilies, vinegar and salt. Huy Fong brand sambal oelek (same brand as the one for the popular Sriracha sauce) will work well if substituting. You could also use a homemade sambal oelek. Alternatively, use chopped Mexican or Thai pickled chilies.
  • To Garnish: Sprinkle the final stir-fry dish with some toasted white sesame seeds and spring onion to make it more pretty! 
Labeled sauce ingredients for Chili Garlic Chicken and Broccoli stir-fry.
Stir-fry Sauce Ingredients
  • Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce: Low sodium soy sauce allows us to control the salt levels better. This is important as dou ban jiang and the pickled chilies sauce are already quite salty.
  • Shao Xing Rice Wine: This is a fragrant Chinese cooking wine available in Asian and Chinese supermarkets. Substitute with dry sherry if unavailable.
  • White Sugar: Adjust the quantity to taste. You may need more or less depending on the number of fresh chilies you use to suit your spice level preference. You’re welcome to use a natural sweetener such as honey. Note that the flavor will be different but it’ll still taste great.
  • Potato Starch: Or you can use corn starch as a thickening agent for the sauce.
  • Sesame Oil: For fragrant toasted sesame aromas! I like using the Japanese Kadoya brand in my home, but any good quality toasted sesame oil will work.
  • Pure Chili Oil (optional): This is a pure Chinese chili oil without any sediment (flakes or seeds). Use less or omit for a milder dish.

Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.

How to Make Chili Garlic Chicken and Broccoli

1. Blanch the broccoli. In a pot of boiling water, and just briefly to slightly soften the florets so that they won’t require a longer cooking time in the stir-fry.

Blanched broccoli in a fine mesh strainer.

2. Cook the chicken. In some oil in a large wok or heavy bottomed deep edged frying pan. Cook over high heat until until 80% cooked. Transfer to a clean bowl and set aside.

3. Sauté the dou ban jiang. Turn the heat down to avoid splattering and sauté for a few seconds until you can smell it.

4. Stir-fry the aromatics. Turn the heat back up and stir-fry the spring onion white and light green parts, garlic, ginger, fresh red chilies and picked chilies until fragrant.

5. Add the blanched broccoli. Toss briefly to combine. 

Process steps to stir-fry chili garlic chicken and broccoli in a wok.

6. Add the chicken and sauce. Stir-fry for until the sauce thickens and coats everything well.

7. Toss through the spring onion dark green parts. Switch off the heat.

Final process steps to make chili garlic chicken and broccoli stir-fry in a wok.

Serve! Transfer to a serving plate or dish and sprinkle with more spring onion and toasted white sesame seeds if desired. Then enjoy with warm steamed rice!

Plate with chicken and broccoli stir-fry and rice bowls.

Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.

Cook’s Tips

  • Mise en place. Like most stir-fries, this dish cooks very quickly. It’s best to have everything chopped, measured, and prepped before you fire up your wok.
  • Strain out the liquid from the pickled chilies sauce. Too much of the liquid from the jar will result in a saltier dish. However, a small amount is great for savory umami flavors – so don’t worry if you don’t strain all of it out.
  • Adjust spice level to taste. Use less fresh red chilies (or omit completely) and less chili oil for the stir-fry sauce. Using less Lao Gan Ma Pickled Chilies sauce will result in a milder and less flavorful dish, so I recommend keeping the amount the same. If you do decide to reduce the it, taste and add more kosher salt to the stir-fry if needed.
  • Make it with more sauce and a thicker sauce. If you’d like a thicker sauce consistency and more sauce, add a corn starch slurry. Mix 1 teaspoon potato or corn starch with 3 tablespoons of water until thoroughly combined. Add it to the stir-fry, a tablespoon at a time, and toss everything until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
Front view of plate with chicken and broccoli stir-fry and rice bowls.

FAQs

Is chicken and broccoli healthy from Chinese restaurants?

It is a healthier choice than other dishes that may require a batter for the meat and deep-frying. However, this homemade version is definitely healthier as you can control the amount of cooking oil you use and salt levels better.

Where to buy Sichuan Pixian dou ban jiang?

An Asian or Chinese supermarket is your best bet. Alternatively, you can purchase a jar online from The Mala Market. They source a very high quality dou ban jiang from Chengdu in the Sichuan region of China and ship within the United States and select international countries.

Can I reheat it in a microwave?

Yes! Store any leftovers in a sealed airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until hot throughout.

Variations

  • Use different veggies. Feel free to switch out the broccoli for zucchini, onion, carrots, snap peas or snow peas, asparagus, green beans, Chinese broccoli (‘gai lan’), broccolini, etc.
  • Add nuts. Unsalted roasted cashews or peanuts would be a great addition to add some crunch.
  • Use a different protein. Sliced beef flank or skirt steak, pork fillet (tenderloin), or even crispy pan-fried tofu cubes would taste great. If you’d like to make it with shrimp, check out my Sichuan Dry-Braised Shrimp.
Closeup of plate with chicken and broccoli stir-fry. Text overlay "Chili Garlic Chicken & Broccoli Stir-fry" and "thatspicychick.com".

More Delicious Sichuan Stir-fries


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Closeup top view of plate with spicy chicken and broccoli stir-fry.

Chili Garlic Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry

Tender chicken pieces, broccoli and fragrant aromatics get tossed in a lip-smacking and addictive spicy garlicky sauce in this 30-minute Chili Garlic Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry. Perfect for busy weeknights and SO good with steamed rice!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stir-fry
  • Cuisine: Chinese
Scale

Ingredients

For the Chicken Marinade:

  • 200 grams / 7 ounces Chicken Thigh Fillets, skinless – cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ TBLS Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 TSP Shao Xing Rice Wine
  • 1/8 TSP Kosher Salt
  • ¾ TSP Potato Starch (or corn starch)
  • ¼ TSP Sesame Oil

For the Sauce:

  • 1 TBLS Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce
  • 1.5 TBLS Shao Xing Rice Wine (substitute with dry sherry if unavailable)
  • 2 TSP White Sugar
  • 1 TSP Potato Starch
  • 1 TSP Sesame Oil
  • 1 TSP Pure Chili Oil (optional – without flakes/seeds)
  • 60ml / ¼ cup Water

For the Chili Garlic Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry:

  • 2 Spring Onion (Scallion/Green Onion) – finely chopped, white and light green parts separated from dark green parts
  • 6 Garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 TBLS minced Ginger
  • 13 fresh Red Chilies (Thai Bird’s Eye or any other small hot red chilies), to taste – finely chopped
  • 285 grams / 10 ounces Broccoli – cut into bite-sized florets (about 3 cups)
  • 2 TBLS Peanut Oil
  • ¾ TBLS Sichuan Pixian Dou Ban Jiang (Chili Bean Paste – note 1)
  • 1.5 TBLS Lao Gan Ma Pickled Chilies Sauce (note 2)
  • To Garnish: ½ TSP Toasted White Sesame Seeds (optional)

Instructions

Prep:

  1. Marinate the chicken: Clean the chicken thigh fillets and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to a medium bowl, followed by the low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, kosher salt, potato starch and sesame oil. Mix well to combine. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Make the sauce: Combine the low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, white sugar, potato starch, sesame oil, pure chili oil (if using) and water in a small measuring cup (for easier pouring) or bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined and set aside.
  3. Prepare the fresh and dry ingredients: Chop the spring onion (separating the white and light green parts from the dark green parts), garlic, ginger, fresh red chilies and broccoli as indicated in the ‘ingredients’ section. Measure the pickled chilies sauce and use a small fine mesh strainer to strain out most of the liquid and discard. (A little liquid is fine, but too much will make the dish too salty.)

For the Chili Garlic Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry:

  1. Blanch the broccoli: Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli florets and turn the heat down to medium-high. Blanch for 1 minute, then drain into a colander and run cold water over the broccoli to halt the cooking process.
  2. Cook the chicken: Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a large wok (or heavy bottomed deep edged frying pan) over high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and immediately spread the pieces out in the wok. Allow to sear for 30 seconds, then stir-fry for 30-40 seconds or until 80% cooked. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a fine mesh strainer held above the wok so that the excess oil drips back down into it. Place the strainer on top of a clean bowl and set aside.
  3. Sauté the dou ban jiang. Heat the oil in the wok over medium-low heat. Add the dou ban jiang and sauté for 20 seconds until shiny and you can smell it.
  4. Stir-fry the aromatics: Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the spring onion white and light green parts, garlic, ginger, fresh red chilies and picked chilies. Stir-fry for 20-30 seconds until fragrant.
  5. Add the broccoli: Add the broccoli to the wok and toss briefly to combine.
  6. Add the chicken and sauce: Give the sauce a quick stir with a spoon to loosen up the starch that will have settled at the bottom. Add the chicken and pour the sauce over everything. Stir-fry for 1 minute until the sauce thickens and coats everything well.
  7. Toss through spring onion. Toss through most of the spring onion dark green parts (reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish). Switch off the heat.
  8. To Serve: Transfer to a serving plate or dish. Garnish with the reserved spring onion spring onion dark green parts and toasted white sesame seeds if desired. Serve immediately with warm steamed rice.

Notes

  1. Sichuan Pixian Dou Ban Jiang (Chili Bean Paste). This is a salty and spicy paste that is slightly sour. It’s made with chili peppers and fermented fava beans and comes in plastic jars. Find it in an Asian or Chinese supermarket, or order a jar online. Although you can use Lee Kum Kee brand chili bean sauce since it is widely available, note that it is sweeter than authentic Sichuan Pixian dou ban jiang due to having several additional ingredients. If using it, you will likely need to use less white sugar for the sauce.
  2. Lao Gan Ma Pickled Chilies Sauce. This highly flavorful and addictive sauce is salty, tangy and spicy! Try to find it in an Asian or Chinese supermarket. Alternatively, grab a jar online. The closest substitute would be sambal oelek, a spicy chili sauce/paste from Indonesia which is made with crushed or chopped chilies, vinegar and salt. Huy Fong brand sambal oelek (same brand as the one for the popular Sriracha sauce) will work well if substituting. You could also use a homemade sambal oelek. Alternatively, use chopped Mexican or Thai pickled chilies.
  3. Storing leftovers and reheating. While this stir-fry tastes best right after cooking, leftovers taste great too. Store any leftovers in a sealed airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave on high for 1-2 minutes or until hot throughout.
  4. See ‘Variations’ section in the post above if you’d like to customize this stir-fry.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 460
  • Sugar: 18.4g
  • Sodium: 852.9mg
  • Fat: 24.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.9g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 16.5g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 33.5g
  • Fiber: 6.2g
  • Protein: 30.9g
  • Cholesterol: 73mg

The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

This post may contain affiliate links. We are a part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

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