This Chinese honey garlic chicken recipe is just right for you if you like Chinese food. It is an easy recipe that guarantees excellent results with the dynamic flavor duo of honey and garlic. You can easily prepare this dish for your whole family, and the flavor will be just as good as from the Chinese restaurants.
Here is the step-by-step instruction on preparing the Chinese honey garlic chicken.
1. Marinate the chicken with Chinese seasonings
Boneless chicken thighs are my favorite meat for this chicken dish as the dark meat is more tender and juicy. However, you can also use skinless chicken breasts for this recipe.
- Cut the boneless chicken thigh with or without the skin into 1-1.5 inch pieces.
- Pat dry the chicken with paper towels. It helps produce a crispier texture by removing as much water as possible.
- Marinate the chicken with simple ingredients such as light soy sauce, salt, ginger juice, ground black pepper, Shaoxing wine, and sesame oil. You can also include some dark soy sauce if you prefer, but I leave it out as I want the chicken to look more golden and with a brighter color.
- Marinate the chicken for at least one hour before proceeding to the next step.
The ginger juice will add an Asian flavor to the chicken, making it stand out from other western honey garlic chicken recipes. To prepare the ginger juice, grate the young ginger with the vegetable grater, put it in a cloth bag, and squeeze out the juice. It is not advisable to use chopped ginger to marinate as the flavor does not penetrate the meat effectively.
2. Deep-fry the chicken twice for a crispy result
Before deep-frying the chicken, coat the chicken with more cornstarch, then shake off the excess. Let the chicken rest for ten minutes until the moisture has absorbed the cornstarch. When this happens, the cornstarch will be less likely dispersed into the oil, keeping the oil clean to deep-fry the next batch of chicken.
Deep-fried (1st time)
- Place the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet. Please use vegetable oil with neutral flavors such as peanut oil, corn oil, and palm oil to fry the chicken. Olive oil is not suitable as it has a low smoking point.
- When the oil temperature has reached medium heat (about 150°C/300°F), place the chicken pieces into the oil one by one. Do overcrowd the skillet to prevent them from sticking together.
- Leave the chicken pieces undisturbed until the chicken starts to firm up, which takes about a minute. Now the cornstarch on the surface has set, and the chicken will no longer stick together while stirring.
- Flip the chicken and continue deep-frying until the chicken starts to turn to light brown. Remove and drain in a wire mesh strainer.
- Let it cool for a few minutes before deep-frying for the second time.
Deep-fried (2nd time)
- The chicken will become very crispy if you deep-fry them twice, first with lower heat and then higher heat.
- Now turn the heat to 190°C/375°F, and return the chicken pieces to the oil.
- Deep-fry the chicken with high heat for the second time until the color becomes golden brown. The sizzling sound is louder with large bubbles around the chicken initially due to the water content. The sound will become smaller when most of the water on the surface has evaporated, turning crispy and golden.
- Remove the chicken and drain again with a wire mesh strainer or colander.
- The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 72°C/160°F to ensure the chicken is fully cooked. It’s worth it to get a kitchen thermometer.
- If you do not want to deep-fry the chicken, try using the same recipe but prepare a honey garlic chicken stir-fry instead. It may not be as crispy, but the taste is very similar.
3. How to make the sauce for the Asian honey garlic chicken
The sauce ingredients for the Chinese honey garlic chicken are relatively simple.
Garlic is an essential ingredient for the Chinese honey garlic chicken. Therefore, garlic powder is not the substitute, as fresh garlic is crucial for this delicious sauce. I prefer to slice the garlic thinly, then saute with some oil until the garlic slices turn golden and crispy.
- Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in the wok/skillet.
- Add the crispy garlic. Alternatively, you can saute the minced garlic until aromatic, then mix with other ingredients.
- Place the honey in a small bowl and dilute it with two tablespoons of water. Then add the diluted honey to the pan.
- Add the lemon juice.
- Mix one tablespoon of cold water with one teaspoon of cornstarch to form a cornstarch slurry. Add the slurry into the wok to thicken the sauce.
- The sweetness of honey is balanced with fresh lemon juice. You may use apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar as the alternative if you prefer.
- You can also include chili sauce or red pepper flakes for a spicy twist.
- It is worth to make a large batch of this savory sauce as it is stable in the freezer for up to 3 months. I suggest you portion 150ml each in an airtight container, sufficient to cook 500g of chicken. This sauce is also ideal as the topping to prepare honey garlic salmon.
4. Coat the chicken with the sauce
Once the ingredients in the skillet have cooked down to become a sticky sauce (should be thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon), return the chicken crispy chicken pieces to the skillet and douse in the thick sauce. Again, you need enough honey sauce to coat the chicken but still dry enough so that the chicken will still be crispy while serving.
To serve, sprinkle some finely chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds onto the chicken.
This easy dinner recipe is perfect for preparing for the busy weeknight and is best to serve with white rice (steamed Jasmine rice). I also like to serve vegetables such as green beans, carrots, and cauliflower to complement this dish.
- 500g chicken thigh meat, skinless, boneless
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger juice
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp honey (dilute with 2 tbsp of water)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cornstarch (mix with 1 tbsp of water to form a slurry)
- 2 tbsp thinly sliced spring onions
- 1 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
- Oil for deep-frying
- Cut the boneless chicken thigh into 1-1.5 inch pieces.
- Marinate the chicken with simple ingredients A for one hour.
- After one hour, coat the chicken with more cornstarch, shake off the excess, and rest for ten minutes.
- Deep-fry the chicken in oil at 150°C/300°F undisturbed for one minute. Flip the chicken and continue deep-frying until the chicken starts to turn to light brown. Remove and drain in a wire mesh strainer.
- Let it cool for a few minutes.
- Deep-fry the chicken again in oil at 190°C/375°F until golden brown.
- Remove the chicken and drain in a colander.
- Heat a tbsp of oil in the wok.
- Add the fried garlic, honey, lemon juice, and salt.
- Thicken with the cornstarch slurry
- Add the lemon zest.
- Return the chicken to the wok and mix well
- Sprinkle some finely chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds onto the chicken to serve.
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Rice Cooking Wine (Red) - 750ml (Pack of 1) by Shaohsing
McCormick Gourmet Collection Toasted Sesame Seed, 15 Ounce
Secura Stainless Steel Deep Fryer with Basket, 3.2 Quart
Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet 2-Piece Set (10-Inch and 12-Inch) Oven Safe Cookware - 2 Heat-Resistant Holders - Indoor and Outdoor Use - Grill, Stovetop, Induction Safe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 539Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 203mgSodium: 1682mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 1gSugar: 33gProtein: 42g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 3/6/2022