XO Sauce Chicken & Chinese Broccoli Stir-fry
Tender and succulent chicken pieces, fragrant aromatics, Chinese broccoli and snow peas get stir-fried in a rich and savory umami-packed sauce starring XO sauce. It’s quick and easy to make in under 30 minutes, incredibly flavorful, and DELICIOUS with a bowl of steamed rice!
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again and again. Easy weeknight stir-fries for the win! This XO Sauce Chicken & Chinese Broccoli Stir-fry is super easy to make on any given weeknight and so incredibly flavorful.
We have tender chicken pieces that are marinated and partially cooked first before being tossed with aromatics (garlic, ginger, spring onion/scallion, fresh chilies) and veggies (Chinese broccoli and snow peas) in the MOST delicious stir-fry sauce that’s full of condiments that are umami BOMBS!
Aside from the irresistible and addictive flavor that XO sauce (learn more about it in my XO Sauce Fried Rice or XO Sauce Pasta with Pork) lends to many dishes, I love the contrasting textures in this particular stir-fry. The juicy chicken pieces, and crisp snow peas and stem parts of the Chinese broccoli work beautifully together with the just wilted dark green leafy parts!
That said, feel free to clean out your crisper drawer and use whatever veggies you have on hand. This easy XO sauce stir-fry is flexible and customizable, and you can also swap the chicken for another protein (more options below) if you like!
So does this 30-minute stir-fry sound good to you for dinner tonight?
Why This Recipe Works
- Quick and easy! It’s made in one wok and ready in less than 30 minutes!
- Perfect meat texture. Partially cooking the chicken separately first yields juicy and tender, non-mushy pieces in the final stir-fry.
- Tasty crisp greens. Snow peas add a subtle nutty sweetness to the stir-fry. They balance out the slightly bitter and earthy flavor from the leafy greens and savory umami and spicy flavors in the sauce.
- Customizable. You can easily swap for your choice of protein and veggies!
- Chicken: I used boneless and skinless chicken breast. Popular belief is that chicken breast is dry and lacks flavor. However, if marinated and cooked correctly (and quickly), it is succulent and tender in Chinese stir-fries. However, feel free to use boneless and skinless chicken thighs if you prefer.
- Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce: I use low sodium soy sauce so that I can have better control over the salt levels in my Asian cooking. If you’re using regular soy sauce, please use less and adjust to taste.
- Shao Xing Rice Wine: A Chinese cooking wine with a fragrant floral aroma that is commonly used in meat marinades and stir-fries. Substitute with dry sherry if unavailable.
- Large Red Chili: This is mild and similar to red bell pepper in terms flavor. You can substitute with red bell pepper or omit completely as I’ve use it mainly for color.
- Fresh Bird’s Eye Red Chilies: Or use any other small hot red chilies. Feel free to use less (or omit) for a milder dish.
- Chinese Broccoli: A leafy green also known as Chinese kale and ‘gai lan’. It has a slightly bitter and earthy flavor once cooked. It’s commonly used in Thai Cuisine in dishes like pad see ew (stir-fried rice noodles with soy sauce) and pad kee mao gai (drunken noodles with chicken) and Chinese cuisine. Look for it in an Asian supermarket (or a wet market if you’re based in Asia). Substitute with broccolini or other leafy greens if unavailable. (See ‘Variations’ section below for more veggie suggestions.)
- Snow Peas: Sugar snap peas can also be used instead.
- Potato Starch: Or you can use corn starch if it’s easier to find. We’ll need to use it in the chicken marinade to give the pieces a lovely velvety coating. This coating helps the meat stay tender and juicy on the inside. We’ll also be using it as a thickening agent in the stir-fry sauce.
- Kosher Salt: Use half the amount if using iodized table salt.
- Canola Oil: Or you can use any other neutral cooking oil with a high smoke point.
- Pure Chili Oil: For cooking in addition to the canola oil and to add extra heat. Omit for a milder stir-fry dish.
- XO Sauce (spicy or regular): An umami BOMB Cantonese condiment that is full of delicious savory and spicy flavors! It’s made with chili peppers, shallots, garlic, dried seafood (usually dried shrimp and scallop but occasionally abalone too), and Jinhua pork/ham. There are several brands that produce XO sauce. However, Lee Kum Kee’s XO sauce is the one that’s most widely available. I use their extra hot XO Sauce, but they also have a milder regular XO sauce if you prefer to make a slightly milder stir-fry. You can find XO sauce an Asian supermarket or order it online. Alternatively, a homemade XO sauce can be used instead.
- Oyster Sauce: A condiment that is an Asian pantry staple. It’s sweet and savory in flavor and thick and sticky in texture.
- Fish Sauce: To add savory umami notes.
- Chinkiang Vinegar: This is a black Chinese vinegar available at Asian supermarkets. If you can’t find it, substitute white half distilled white vinegar and half balsamic vinegar to yield a similar flavor.
Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.
How to Make XO Sauce Chicken & Chinese Broccoli Stir-fry
1. Cook the marinated chicken. Only until the pieces are 80% cooked, then transfer to a clean bowl. Resist the urge to cook the chicken longer as it will finish cooking in the stir-fry later.
2. Stir-fry the onion and aromatics. In a bit of canola oil and pure chili oil (if using) in the wok over high heat. Stir-fry the yellow onion and spring onion white and light green parts until slightly softened. Then add the garlic, ginger, both types of red chilies and stir-fry to combine until fragrant.
3. Add the Chinese broccoli and snow peas. Season with kosher salt and toss to combine until the leafy parts of the Chinese broccoli have slightly wilted.
4. Add the chicken and stir-fry sauce. Stir-fry continuously until everything is coated well in the sauce and it starts to thicken. If the sauce thickens too much too quickly, add a splash of water and continue tossing.
5. Stir through spring onion greens. Then switch off the heat.
6. Serve! Plate up and serve immediately with warm steamed rice!
Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Prepare all the ingredients before you switch on the stove. As with most stir-fries, this one is ready very quickly. It’s best to have everything prepped and ready to go and by the side of your wok before you start cooking.
- Adjust spice level to taste. Feel free to use less fresh red chilies (or omit completely) and a regular (not extra spicy XO sauce) for a milder dish. You can also omit the pure chili oil for cooking to reduce the spice level.
- Use a large wok or heavy bottomed frying pan. A cast iron wok is excellent for stir-fries and adds wok hei (breath of the wok) to the dish. However, a nonstick wok or even a large heavy bottomed frying pan can be used instead too.
After washing and pat-drying, peel the stem parts – the outside part of the stem is very stringy and not pleasant to eat. However, the inside becomes tender once cooked. Use a sharp paring knife (easiest option) or vegetable peeler. Then slice at an angle so that you have long and slender stem parts (a little less than ½-cm wide) pieces and leafy green chunks.
All parts of the Chinese broccoli – the stems, leafy dark green parts, and flowers are edible once cooked in a stir-fry or soup, or blanched. However, take extra care when washing and cleaning the flower parts as insects like to hide in them.
Although not exactly same, Chinese broccoli is very similar to broccolini. In fact, broccolini is a hybrid of Chinese broccoli and regular broccoli which was developed in Japan. In terms of flavor, broccolini has a slightly sweeter flavor profile. Broccolini is a great substitute for Chinese broccoli in stir-fries.
- Switch up the veggies. Sliced broccolini, bok choy, choy sum, regular broccoli or other leafy Asian greens can be used in place of the Chinese broccoli. Sliced baby corn, asparagus (ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces), or green beans can replace the snow peas. Other great veggie options are sliced carrots, bell peppers, and celery.
- Use a different protein. Sliced pork collar, pork tenderloin (fillet), or beef skirt or flank steak can be used in place of the chicken breast. You could also use fried tofu puffs (known as ‘tau pok’ and available in the fridge section of Asian supermarkets) instead.
More Recipes with XO Sauce
More Easy Weeknight Stir-fries
- Authentic Kung Pao Chicken
- Stir-fried Garlic Scapes with Pork & Tofu
- Chicken with Spicy Black Bean Sauce
- Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans
- Thai Eggplant Stir-fry
- Or browse the entire Stir-fry recipes collection.
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XO Sauce Chicken & Chinese Broccoli Stir-fry
Succulent chicken pieces, fragrant aromatics, Chinese broccoli, and snow peas get stir-fried in a rich and savory umami-packed sauce starring XO sauce. This XO Sauce Chicken & Chinese Broccoli Stir-fry is ready in under 30 minutes and a weeknight winner!
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 15
- 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 strips
- ¼ TSP ground White Pepper
- ½ TBLS Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce
- ½ TBLS Shao Xing Rice Wine
- 1 TSP Potato Starch (or Corn Starch)
- ¼ TSP Sesame Oil
For the Sauce:
- 2 TBLS XO Sauce (spicy or regular)
- 1 TBLS Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce
- 1 TBLS Shao Xing Rice Wine
- ½ TBLS Oyster Sauce
- 1 TSP Fish Sauce
- 1 TSP Chinkiang Vinegar
- 1 TSP Sesame Oil
- 1 TSP Potato Starch (or Corn Starch)
- ½ TSP White Sugar, to taste
- ¼ cup Water
For the XO Sauce Chicken & Chinese Broccoli Stir-fry:
- 3.5 TBLS Canola Oil (or any other neutral cooking oil with a high smoke point)
- 1 TSP Pure Chili Oil (optional – without seeds/flakes)
- ½ small Yellow Onion – sliced into ¼-inch wide strips, then sliced in half again widthwise
- 1 Spring Onion (Scallion/Green Onion) – cut into 1.5-inch pieces, white & light green parts separated from dark green parts
- 3 Garlic cloves – minced
- 1 TBLS minced Ginger
- 1 Large Red Chili – deseeded if desired, sliced at an angle
- 2–10 fresh Red Chilies (I used Bird’s Eye, but any small hot red chilies will work), to taste – chopped
- 50 grams / 1.76 ounces Snow Peas – hairy parts trimmed, washed and pat-dried
- 150 grams / 5.3 ounces / 4-5 pieces Chinese Broccoli (see notes for substitutes*) – stems peeled, sliced at an angle
- ¼ TSP Kosher Salt (see notes*)
- Marinate the chicken: Clean and pat-dry the chicken breast. Then slice into thin bite-sized strips. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, ground white pepper, low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, potato starch, and sesame oil. Mix well until evenly combined, then set aside for 15 minutes to marinate.
- Make the sauce: Mix together the XO sauce, fish sauce, low sodium light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, oyster sauce, Chinkiang vinegar, white sugar, potato starch, sesame oil, and water in a small measuring cup (or bowl) until combined well.
- Prepare the fresh ingredients: Prepare/chop the yellow onion, spring onion (separating the white and light green parts from the dark green parts), garlic, ginger, large red chili, small red chilies, Chinese broccoli, and snow peas as indicated in the ‘Ingredients’ section.
For the XO Sauce Chicken & Chinese Broccoli Stir-fry:
- Cook the chicken: Heat 1.5 tablespoons canola oil in a large wok over high heat. Once hot, add the marinated chicken and immediately spread the pieces out in the wok. Allow to sear for 40 seconds, then stir-fry for 1 minute until the chicken is 80% cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a fine mesh strainer held above the wok to let the excess oil drip into it. Then transfer the chicken to a clean bowl. Wipe out the wok with paper towels.
- Stir-fry the onion and aromatics: Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil and 1 TSP chili oil (if using) in the wok over high heat. Once hot, add the yellow onion and spring onion white and light green parts. Sauté for 30 seconds until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, large red chili, and small red chilies and stir-fry to combine for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Stir-fry the veggies: Add the snow peas and Chinese broccoli and season with kosher salt. Toss to combine for a minute, until the leafy parts of the Chinese broccoli have slightly wilted.
- Add the chicken and sauce: Add the chicken back into the wok and pour the sauce on top of everything. Stir-fry continuously for a minute until everything is coated well in the sauce and it starts to thicken. If the sauce thickens too much too quickly, add a splash of water and continue tossing.
- Stir through spring onion greens: Stir through the spring onion dark green parts, then switch off the heat.
- To Serve: Transfer to a serving plate/dish and serve immediately with warm steamed rice.
- Staple Asian sauces and condiments and substitutes: Shao Xing rice wine (Chinese cooking wine), oyster sauce, fish sauce, and chinkiang vinegar (Chinese black vinegar) are available at Asian supermarkets, Chinese groceries stores, and online. Some of these can also be found in mainstream supermarkets that are well stocked with international ingredients. Substitute dry sherry for Shao Xing rice wine. Use half white and half balsamic vinegar in a pinch if Chinkiang vinegar (or other Chinese black vinegar) is unavailable. Soy sauce can be used for fish sauce in a pinch, but try to seek out the fish sauce as even the small quantity adds depth of flavor and incomparable umami notes.
- XO Sauce. This is savory and spicy umami-packed Cantonese condiment made with dried seafood, Jinhua pork (Chinese ham), aromatics (garlic and shallots), and chili peppers. Although several brands produce this condiment, Lee Kum Kee’s XO sauces are the most readily available outside of Hong Kong. I used their extra hot XO sauce, but you can use their regular XO sauce for a milder dish. A homemade XO sauce would work too. Find it in an Asian supermarket or Chinese groceries story.
- Adjust spice level to taste. Use less fresh red chilies (or omit completely) and a regular (not extra spicy XO sauce) for a milder dish. You can also omit the pure chili oil for cooking to reduce the spice level.
- Kosher salt. Use about half the amount if using iodized table salt as it is saltier than kosher salt.
- Veggie substitutes. Sliced broccolini, bok choy, choy sum, regular broccoli or other leafy Asian greens can be used in place of the Chinese broccoli. Sliced baby corn, asparagus (ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces), or green beans can replace the snow peas. Other great veggie options are sliced carrots, bell peppers, and celery.
- Meat/protein options. Sliced pork collar, pork tenderloin (fillet), or beef skirt or flank steak can be used in place of the chicken breast. You could also use fried tofu puffs (known as ‘tau pok’ and available in the fridge section of Asian supermarkets) instead.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 276
- Sugar: 6g
- Sodium: 611.6mg
- Fat: 18.6g
- Saturated Fat: 2.1g
- Unsaturated Fat: 10.9g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 13.6g
- Fiber: 2.2g
- Protein: 15.8g
- Cholesterol: 40.3mg
Keywords: xo sauce stir fry, xo sauce stir fry vegetables, xo sauce chicken stir-fry
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