I love to eat spicy food, so the first time I came across spicy Dragon Chicken on the menu at a local restaurant, I was intrigued. I had to order it and I wasn’t disappointed. One bite and I was in spice-lovers-heaven and knew I had to recreate this delicious meal at home. My easy Dragon Chicken recipe is quick to prepare and tastes like restaurant-style take-out (just made at home!)
What is Dragon Chicken?
Despite sharing a name with the rare and suitably dragon-like Vietnamese chicken variety ‘gà Đông Tảo’, Dragon Chicken is a modern restaurant invention. Made from crispy chicken, red and green bell pepper, onions and cashew nuts, all smothered in a slightly sweet and seriously spicy sauce.
Is this an authentic Chinese recipe?
Rather than a classic recipe, this is what I would call fusion cuisine. There are loads of dragon chicken recipes floating around online, each claiming to be the best dragon chicken!
All these recipes have varying amounts of spice and other flavours, but the general shape is the same, so you can feel free to experiment without being bound by the rules of Chinese cuisine.
I think Dragon Chicken tastes like a combination of chilli chicken crossed with chicken cashew nut, and wherever it comes from, if you love spicy food you’ll love this stir fry.
How do you make Dragon Chicken?
Dragon Chicken is simple to make, as long as you keep organised. Diced or sliced chicken is marinated in a spicy batter, quickly shallow fried and then cooked into a spicy sauce with vegetables.
Restaurant-style recipes have a bad habit of making lots of dishes, so for the sake of sanity I have tried to make this recipe as simple as possible:
- Step 1: Slice the chicken, whisk up a quick batter and stir it all together. Stir together the cooking sauce and set aside. You can do this step up to 24 hours in advance (yay!)
- Step 2: Get all your vegetables and dishes ready, then shallow fry the chicken.
- Step 3: Cook the vegetables, add the sauce and chicken, warm it all through and serve.
I’m scared of the sound of that deep-frying!
Don’t worry! We aren’t really deep frying here anyway, just shallow frying. It’s a great kitchen technique to have under your belt and worth learning.
Be sure when frying to have a clear space in the kitchen, and to move carefully and slowly so you don’t splash the oil when you add the marinated chicken pieces.
Is there a lot of sauce with Dragon Chicken?
This is what I would call a fairly dry stir fry. If you’d like a bit more sauce, just add a little water to the pan.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I use boneless chicken strips or chicken tenders instead of breast?
Absolutely! I grab whatever is on special!
Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breast?
Yes! Asian food is often much better with chicken thighs as they tolerate the high heat and flavoursome sauces better than breast meat, so go right ahead.
What can I substitute for chilli paste?
If you like things extra hot, you could substitute sriracha sauce, the flavour will be a little different but perfectly delicious.
What to serve with Dragon Chicken?
This is a spicy dish so you definitely need some fluffy steamed rice to cool your mouth down. Follow the instructions in my Honey Ginger Chicken recipe for perfect, fluffy rice, every time.
Steamed green vegetables make a perfect side dish for Dragon Chicken. Beans, broccoli or bok choy all go well.
I am a spice fiend! Can I make Dragon chicken even spicier?
Of course! Add some red chilli flakes or chilli powder to the sauce for an even hotter final dish.
Keep the kitchen organised and prepare all your ingredients before you start for a Safe stress-free cooking experience.
Whether it is named for the bright red colour or the fiery heat, Dragon Chicken is seriously tasty either way!
Looking for more easy stir fry recipes?
- 500g (1 lb.) boneless chicken breast
for the batter:
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch / cornflour
- 2 Tbsp red chilli paste
- 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp vinegar
- 1 Tbsp finely grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- freshly ground black pepper
for the spicy sauce:
- 4 Tbsp tomato ketchup
- 1 Tbsp red chilli paste
- 1 Tbsp finely grated ginger
- 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- vegetable oil for shallow frying
- 125g (1 cup) cashew nuts
- 2 bell peppers, roughly diced (I like to use 1 red bell pepper and 1 green)
- 2 red onions, halved and sliced
- 2 dried red chillies, seeds removed
- sesame seeds
- 2 spring onions / scallions, sliced
- 200g basmati rice (see FAQ'S for cooking instructions)
- PREPARE THE CHICKEN: Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces, either long strips or smallish cubes. Put your rice on to cook, if serving.
- MAKE THE BATTER: Whisk together all batter ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir through the sliced chicken and set aside while you make the sauce.
- MAKE THE SAUCE: Whisk together all sauce ingredients with 60ml / ¼ cup of water.
- FRY THE CHICKEN: Heat 4-5 cm / 2 inches of oil in a medium saucepan. When the oil is hot (see notes for how to tell if oil is hot enough for frying), fry the chicken until golden brown. It is best to work in batches. When the chicken is golden and crisp, transfer the fried chicken pieces to a plate lined with a kitchen towel.
- SAUTÉ THE VEGETABLES: Pour 3 tablespoons of the frying oil into a large frying pan or wok placed over high heat. Add the cashews and cook for 1 minute, then add the peppers, onions and dried chillies. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are beginning to soften.
- COMBINE THE INGREDIENTS: Add the sauce, stirring to coat the vegetables. Allow to bubble for 2 minutes, then add the chicken, stirring again to coat. Cook for 2 minutes further to warm through.
- SERVE: Serve immediately, garnished with sesame seeds and sliced spring onions, and with plenty of steamed basmati rice on the side.
For shallow frying, it is best to heat the oil over medium-high heat so that you can control the temperature. If you are using a digital thermometer, the best temperature range for shallow frying is 180°C (350°F) - 190°C (375°F).
If you don't have a thermometer you can dip the end of a wooden spoon in the oil. If it starts fizzing gently with little bubbles, the oil is hot enough to cook with.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 743Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 1381mgCarbohydrates: 97gFiber: 9gSugar: 23gProtein: 35g