Hoisin Chicken Stir-fry with Tofu
This Hoisin Chicken Stir-fry with Tofu is quick and easy to make in under 30 minutes and exploding with addictive savory, sweet, and spicy flavors! Tender chicken pieces, tofu, and Welsh onion get tossed with fragrant aromatics in a delicious spicy and sweet sauce!
Spicy, sweet, sticky and so DELICIOUS with steamed rice. This Hoisin Chicken Stir-fry with Tofu is an easy weeknight stir-fry that’s guaranteed to have you licking your plate clean!
We have juicy and tender chicken pieces, wonderfully chewy yet tender firm tofu strips, fragrant aromatics like garlic, ginger, and fresh red chilies, sweet and mellow onion flavors from Welsh onion (more on them later), and an INCREDIBLE glossy, spicy, sweet, and savory sauce with a hint of sesame coating everything!
You can serve it as a main dish with steamed rice or alongside other Chinese main dishes as part of a full meal.
I’m telling you friends, this is one easy stir-fry that you’ll want to add to your regular rotation. I think you’re going to love it!
Why This Recipe Works
- Quick and easy. It’s ready to go from start to finish in just under 30 minutes and perfect for busy weeknights!
- Best textures. Tender and juicy chicken pieces, chewy and firm pressed brown tofu strips, and tender yet slightly crisp Welsh onion complement each other well.
- Flavor-packed! Savory-sweet umami notes from hoisin sauce and salty, spicy and slightly tangy BOLD flavors from dou ban jiang makes the whole dish so TASTY!
- Perfectly balanced. Welsh onion is used to add sweet mellow onion notes to balance out the spicy and savory-sweet flavors.
- Customizable. Pork or beef can be used in place of chicken. Or you can make it with all chicken or all tofu if you wish!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutes
- Chicken Breast. I used boneless and skinless chicken breast. You’re welcome to use boneless and skinless chicken thighs if you prefer.
- Hoisin Sauce: This is a dark brown thick sauce with a reddish tint. It has a savory-sweet flavor profile and is full of umami. It’s made with fermented soybeans, spices, garlic, salted red chili peppers, dried sweet potatoes, and sugar. It’s commonly used in Cantonese cuisine as a dipping sauce, condiment, marinade, and in stir-fries. You may have seen it or tried in lettuce wraps or with Peking duck. I use Lee Kum Kee brand, but any good quality hoisin sauce will work. Look for it in the Asian food aisle of mainstream supermarkets or in an Asian or Chinese supermarket.
- Welsh Onion: This is a type of green onion that is similar in appearance to Western leeks. It also goes by the name of Tokyo or Japanese negi, green onion, bunching onion, and spring onion. It has more white part than the typical scallion and green onions sold in the United States. Both the white stem part and top green part become tender and sweet when stir-fried. Try looking for it in an Asian supermarket. Substitute with the white part of a Western leek if unavailable.
- Pressed Firm Brown Tofu: I used pressed firm brown tofu squares which are like the ones used in pad thai. They’re available in wet markets and stores specializing in the sale and production of tofu products in Asia. In the US and elsewhere, you can find them in Asian supermarkets. Substitute with extra firm tofu instead if unavailable.
- Sichuan Pixian Dou Ban Jiang (Chili Bean Paste): This is a spicy chili paste/sauce that’s made with fermented broad beans, soybeans, chili peppers, salt and flour. It’s commonly used in Sichuan cuisine in recipes like mapo tofu, a noodles stir-fry called ants climbing a tree (ma yi shang shu), and sometimes in ‘yu xiang’ (fish-fragrant) dishes like yu xiang eggplant and yu xiang chicken. While Lee Kum Kee produces a chili bean paste, I highly recommend using a Sichuan Pixian dou ban jiang from Chengdu, China. You can purchase it online (easiest way) and possibly in some Asian supermarkets. If you can’t find it, use Lee Kum Kee’s chili bean paste in a pinch. However, adjust the quantity to taste as it is sweeter and has several other additional ingredients unlike authentic Pixian dou ban jiang.
- Fresh Red Chilies: I used a few Thai Bird’s Eye chilies for heat, but any small hot red chilies that you can get in your area will work. Omit or use less for a milder dish.
- Peanut Oil: Or use any neutral cooking oil with a high smoke point.
- Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce: If using regular soy sauce, reduce the amount by half.
- Shao Xing Rice Wine: A fragrant Chinese cooking wine with a floral aroma. It’s used in the meat marinade and stir-fry sauce here. Substitute with dry sherry if unavailable.
- Chinkiang Vinegar: A Chinese black vinegar. If you don’t have it on hand, substitute with half balsamic and half white vinegar to yield a similar flavor.
- Chili Oil (optional): This is a pure chili oil without any flakes or seeds. Feel free to omit it for a milder dish.
- Potato Starch: Just like corn starch, potato starch is commonly used in Chinese cooking for meat marinades, as a thickening agent in stir-fry sauces, and for deep-frying. You can use corn starch in its place if needed.
Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.
How to Make Hoisin Chicken Stir-fry with Tofu
1. Cook the marinated chicken. In a large wok with hot oil until the chicken is about 80% cooked through. Transfer to a clean bowl and set aside.
2. Sauté the aromatics. Stir-fry the dou ban jiang, garlic, ginger, and fresh red chilies until fragrant.
3. Cook the Welsh onion and tofu. Add the Welsh onion and tofu and stir-fry until both are slightly tender.
4. Add the chicken and sauce. Add the partially cooked chicken back into the wok and pour the sauce over everything.
5. Toss everything. Stir-fry until the sauce thickens and coats everything well.
Serve! Transfer to a serving plate or dish and sprinkle with chopped spring onion if desired. Enjoy immediately with warm steamed rice!
Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Adjust spice level to taste. Use less of (or omit) the fresh red chilies, chili oil, and dou ban jiang to make this dish milder. Or use more fresh red chilies and add a few dried red chilies to make this dish hotter.
- Prepare everything before you start cooking. As with most stir-fries, this one take very little time to cook! It’s best to prepare all the fresh ingredients while the chicken is marinating so that everything is ready to go before you start cooking.
- Use a good quality hoisin sauce. Although hoisin sauce is available in most supermarkets today, it’s worth making your way down to an Asian or Chinese supermarket or purchasing one online made by Asian producers. The flavor of the sauce will be more authentic. I can vouch that both Lee Kum Kee and Kikkoman’s hoisin sauce taste great.
Although hoisin sauce is made with various spices and salted chili peppers, it is not a very spicy sauce. It is sweet with a hint of tang and flavorful due to the various spices incorporated in it.
Lee Kum Kee Gluten-Free Hoisin Sauce is a good quality delicious hoisin sauce that can be used for dips, sauce, marinades, and stir-fries. Kikkoman also produces a great gluten-free hoisin sauce.
Once the jar or bottle is open, store in the refrigerator and use by the expiry date or within 12-18 months. If you purchased hoisin sauce in a can, transfer the sauce to an airtight sealed jar and store in the refrigerator.
I love this hoisin chicken stir-fry with tofu over steamed white rice. But you can serve it with brown rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa if you prefer. It also tastes great with cooked noodles, zoodles (zucchini noodles) and in tortilla wraps or lettuce cups/wraps.
- Swap chicken for other meat proteins. Pork fillet (tenderloin) or beef flank or skirt steak can be used in place of the chicken.
- Use all meat. You can omit the tofu and use more chicken (total 340 grams / 12 ounces). For the marinade, double all the ingredients but use 1.5 teaspoons potato starch only.
- Make it vegetarian/vegan. Omit the chicken and marinade ingredients. Add ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper to the stir-fry sauce and make this a hoisin tofu stir-fry!
- Add more veggies. You can throw in some snow peas, snap peas, baby corn, sliced carrots, zucchini, or bell peppers (any color), etc. if you’d like to boost the nutritional content.
- Make it gluten-free. Use a gluten-free soy sauce (low sodium preferably), dry sherry instead of the Shao Xing rice wine, and a gluten-free hoisin sauce. In place of dou ban jiang, use sambal oelek for a different but still delicious take on this hoisin chicken stir-fry.
More Easy Weeknight Stir-fries
- Authentic Kung Pao Chicken
- XO Sauce Chicken & Chinese Broccoli Stir-fry
- Stir-fried Garlic Scapes with Pork & Tofu
- Chicken with Spicy Black Bean Sauce
- Yu Xiang Chicken
- Or browse the entire Stir-fry and Chinese recipes collection.
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Hoisin Chicken Stir-fry with Tofu
Tender chicken pieces, tofu strips, fragrant aromatics, and Welsh onion get tossed in an addictive and glossy savory, sweet and spicy sauce in this Hoisin Chicken Stir-fry with Tofu! Ready in under 30 minutes!
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 10
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stir-fry
- Cuisine: Chinese
For the Chicken Marinade:
- 200 grams / 7 ounces Chicken Breast, boneless, skinless – cleaned, pat-dried, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
- ¼ TSP ground White Pepper
- ½ TSP Sesame Oil
- ½ TBLS Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce
- ½ TBLS Shao Xing Rice Wine
- 1 TSP Potato Starch (or Corn Starch)
For the Sauce:
- 2 TBLS Hoisin Sauce (I use Lee Kum Kee brand – see note 1)
- 2 TSP Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce
- 1 TBLS Shao Xing Rice Wine
- ½ TBLS Chinkiang Vinegar
- 1 TSP Sesame Oil
- 1 TSP Pure Chili Oil (optional – without flakes/seeds)
- 1 TSP Potato Starch (or Corn Starch)
- 60ml / ¼ cup Water
For the Hoisin Chicken Stir-fry with Tofu:
- 1 medium Welsh Onion (or the white part of a leek – see note 2) – sliced lengthwise, cut into 1.5-inch pieces
- 5 Garlic cloves – peeled and thinly sliced
- 1.5-inch piece of Ginger – peeled and thinly sliced (about 2 tablespoons sliced)
- 2–10 fresh Red Chilies (Thai Bird’s Eye or any small hot red chilies), to taste – finely chopped
- 2 squares (130 grams / 4.6 ounces) pressed firm Brown Tofu – thinly sliced
- 3.5 TBLS Peanut Oil (or any neutral cooking oil with a high smoke point)
- 1 TBLS Dou Ban Jiang (Chili Bean Paste – Sichuan Pixian Dou Ban Jiang preferred – see note 3)
- To Garnish (optional): Chopped Spring Onion (Scallion/Green Onion)
- Marinate the chicken: Clean and pat-dry the chicken breast. Slice into thin bite sized pieces. Add the chicken to a medium bowl, followed by the ground white pepper, sesame oil, low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, and potato starch. Mix well to combine. Set aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
- Make the sauce: Mix together the hoisin sauce, low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, Chinkiang vinegar, sesame oil, pure chili oil (if using), potato starch, and water in a small measuring cup (or bowl) until combined well.
- Prepare the fresh ingredients: Slice the Welsh onion, garlic, ginger, red chilies, pressed firm brown tofu as indicated in the ‘Ingredients’ section.
For the Hoisin Chicken Stir-fry with Tofu:
- Cook the chicken: Heat 3.5 tablespoons peanut oil in a large wok over high heat. Once hot, add the marinated chicken and immediately spread out the pieces in the wok. Allow to cook for 40 seconds undisturbed, then stir-fry for 20-40 seconds until the chicken is almost cooked through. Hold a fine mesh strainer above the wok and transfer the chicken pieces into it, allowing the excess oil to drip down back into the wok. Transfer the chicken to a clean bowl. Scoop out and discard crispy bits from the wok (if any).
- Sauté the aromatics: Make sure there is 3 tablespoons of oil in the wok (add more if needed) and heat over high heat. Once hot, add the dou ban jiang, garlic, ginger, and fresh red chilies. Sauté for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Cook the Welsh onion and tofu: Add the sliced Welsh onion and tofu and stir-fry for a minute to combine until the Welsh onion has softened and the tofu is slightly tender.
- Add the chicken and sauce: Give the sauce a quick stir with a spoon to loosen up the potato starch that will have settled at the bottom. Add the partially cooked chicken into the wok and pour the sauce over everything. Stir-fry for 1 minute, until the sauce thickens and coats everything well. Switch off the heat.
- To Serve: Transfer to a serving plate/dish and garnish with chopped spring onion if desired. Serve immediately with warm steamed rice.
- Hoisin Sauce: This is a dark brown thick sauce with a reddish tint. It has a savory-sweet flavor profile and is full of umami. It’s made with fermented soybeans, spices, garlic, salted red chili peppers, dried sweet potatoes, and sugar. I use Lee Kum Kee brand, but any good quality hoisin sauce will work. Find it in the Asian food aisle of mainstream supermarkets or in an Asian or Chinese supermarket.
- Welsh onion: This is a type of green onion that is similar in appearance to Western leeks. It also goes by the name of Tokyo or Japanese negi, green onion, bunching onion, and spring onion. It has more white part than the typical scallion and green onions sold in the United States. Look for it in an Asian supermarket. Substitute with the white stem part of a Western leek instead.
- Sichuan Pixian Dou Ban Jiang (Chili Bean Paste): This is a spicy chili paste/sauce that’s made with fermented broad beans, soybeans, chili peppers, salt and flour. While Lee Kum Kee produces a chili bean paste, I highly recommend using a Sichuan Pixian dou ban jiang from Chengdu, China. You can order it online (easiest way) and possibly find it in some Asian supermarkets. If using Lee Kum Kee chili bean paste, adjust the quantity to taste as it is sweeter and has several other additional ingredients.
- Asian pantry sauces: Shao Xing rice wine (Chinese cooking wine), Chinkiang vinegar (Chines black vinegar) can be found in an Asian supermarket and some mainstream supermarkets. Substitute dry sherry for Shao Xing rice wine if unavailable. Use half balsamic and half distilled white vinegar in place of Chinkiang vinegar if needed. If using regular soy sauce, half the amount as it is more salty than low sodium light soy sauce.
- See ‘Variations’ section in the post above for tips on customizing this recipe.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 287
- Sugar: 7.3g
- Sodium: 463.9mg
- Fat: 17.5g
- Saturated Fat: 2.8g
- Unsaturated Fat: 12.7g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 16.5g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 16.9g
- Cholesterol: 36.7mg
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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