Mongolian Chicken Recipe
The best Mongolian Chicken stir-fry with crispy edges and a perfectly balanced Mongolian sauce that’s Paleo, Whole30, gluten-free, and with no added sugar. This Mongolian Chicken recipe is crispy, salty, naturally sweet, and just a little spicy. It’s quick, simple, and utterly delicious. It has it all! For those of you preferring chicken over beef, this is it!
What is Mongolian chicken?
Before we talk about Mongolian Chicken let’s revisit one of my signature dishes – Mongolian Beef Stir-Fry. Did you know Mongolian beef originated from my motherland Taiwan? I’m so proud of it when I learned that Mongolian stir-fry is native to Taiwanese people. 🙂
Growing up stir-fry dishes are everyday must-have in my parents’ and grandparents’ dinner table. We love that sizzling hot and crisp texture you only can get through a perfect wok stir-fry. The meat is thinly sliced and seasoned with a quick marinade and tossed in high heat with loads of Asian aromatics – ginger, garlic, Chinese red chili peppers, and scallions. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
Today’s Mongolian chicken recipe is partly inspired by my Mongolian beef recipe – with loads of aromatics – and by Chongqing Chicken (AKA Laziji), featuring perfectly crisp chicken stir-fried in a naturally sweet and savory sauce and I made this dish less spicy.
What does mongolian chicken taste like?
In my opinion, Chinese Mongolian Chicken should have a crisp texture in the mouthfeel – imagine perfectly seasoned chicken with shallow fried crispy texture. Each chicken slices is full of flavor yet not soaking wet covered in sauce. The flavor of the dish comes from the oil that’s fragrant with ginger, garlic, scallions, and Chinese dry red chilies and finished with a simple Mongolian sauce – mainly soy sauce (or coconut aminos) or possibly with oyster sauce – to elevate the flavor.
What makes Mongolian chicken so delicious partly is because of the way the chicken is prepared. Instead of pan searing it in a frying pan, the chicken is tossed in arrowroot powder (or tapioca starch) to replace the traditional corn starch, which has higher impact on blood sugar levels. I shallow fry each chicken slices until they are golden brown and crispy on the edges.
The result is perfection.
Tender chicken pieces that are crispy, savory, and full of flavor and out of this world delicious!
Chicken breasts or thighs?
You can use either for Mongolian chicken but here I use chicken breasts. Thinly sliced chicken breasts create more surface cuts for the sauce to cling to. Since they are shallow fried instead of deep fried, it’s quicker to crisp up the chicken if using breasts. You can, however, use chicken thighs if that’s what you have handy.
Ingredients for Chinese Mongolian Chicken Recipe
- For the chicken – Chicken breasts seasoned with salt, white pepper, garlic, onion, and five spice powder. Lightly dust with arrowroot starch.
- For the aromatics – Garlic, ginger, scallions, Chinese dry red chilies (optional), and red fresno or serrano chilies (with seeds removed)
- For the sauce – coconut aminos (or gluten-free low sodium tamari), toasted sesame oil, Frank’s hot sauce (optional), and rice vinegar.
Healthy Mongolian Sauce
To make gluten-free Mongolian Sauce for chicken with no added sugar, I combined coconut aminos, toasted sesame oil, Frank’s hot sauce (optional), and rice vinegar. This simple and quick sauce is perfect for chicken Mongolian stir-fry. A small splash of rice vinegar helps brighten the dish.
I recommend we think about how we define Chinese stir-fry sauces. For example: will the “mongolian sauce” combination above work for other proteins? My answer will be: I’m not sure without tasting it. The seasoning combo is developed based on what tastes right to that particular protein and cooking style. If you look at my Mongolian beef, you’ll find different seasonings written for beef stir-fry.
There are a few famous Chinese sauce seasonings for example: Oyster sauce, Vegetarian oyster sauce (my homemade version), Hoisin sauce…etc. However, most of the time the true flavor of Chinese cuisine is not defined by what sauce we use. It’s about the aromatics, the oil, the timing in which we introduce the ingredients to a hot wok, the texture – crisp, soft, or moist, the temperature, and the speed of the stir-fry.
We build flavor through layers of simple ingredients to enhance the star of the dish. In other words, we build flavor from bottom-up as opposed to top-down by dumpling sauce over a dish to cover up the lack of seasonings. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.
How to make Mongolian Chicken
- Thinly slice the chicken breasts and season with dry spice seasonings (salt, white pepper, garlic, onion, and five spice powder).
- Dust the chicken with arrowroot starch and coat evenly.
- Shallow fry them in a hot wok or Dutch oven to reduce splatter and fry in separate batches until golden crisp brown.
- Use the frying time to chop ginger, garlic, scallions, and chilies.
- Prepare the sauce in one bowl and ready-to-go.
- Set the chicken aside and use the same wok to fry the aromatics until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
- Toss the chicken back to the wok and drizzle in the sauce. Give everything a quick toss and serve!
Pairing for Mongolian Chicken
Steamed short grain white rice is definitely the way to-go! Almost all Chinese stir-fry dishes work well with rice. 🙂 To keep it low carb, here are some other fabulous choices.
- Egg Drop Soup with Tomato
- Sweet Potato Mash
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan) with Vegetarian Oyster Sauce
- Sautéed Cabbage Recipe
- Chinese Broccoli with Garlic Sauce
Tips for making the best Mongolian Chicken
- If you prefer to add more vegetables, please serve them on the side. The type of vegetable and timing in which it’s introduced to a stir-fry might affect the texture and flavor of a dish. I include vegetable choices below.
- Preheat your wok or Dutch oven well over medium-heat without oil first. You want the wok to be hot when you place your palm about 2-3 inches away from the surface and you can feel the heat. Watch a video demo here on how to preheat your skillet for stir-fry.
- Fry the chicken in separate batches with a high smoke point oil such as avocado oil. Use a wok or Dutch oven with heavy bottom and high wall to prevent grease.
- The first batch of chicken might not be as golden color as the second batch. This is because the temperature of the wok might not be as hot initially. You can add the first batch back to the wok to shallow fry it twice with the second batch.
- Don’t shy away from using aromatics. The characteristics of Mongolian stir-fry is on the spicier side. The Chinese dry red chili peppers are used in whole (the seeds are contained inside) so you mainly get a little flavor from the outer skin. To make it non-spicy, skip the chili peppers (both dry and fresh).
Do you eat the dry red chili peppers? Nope you don’t. You can if you really like spicy food. The chili peppers in the stir-fry is mainly used to get a hint of flavor without overpowering. It also makes the dish looking really pretty with a deep red hue in the presentation. When you eat, simply push them aside. It’s part of the fun! 🙂
Perfect Side dishes to cool down your palate –
- Bok Choy Dim Sum
- Gomaae Japanese Spinach With Goma Dressing
- Bok Choy Salad with Toasted Sesame Dressing
- Watermelon Fruit Salad
- Grilled Peach Avocado Salad
- Asian Carrot-Celery Slaw
- Asian Coleslaw
- Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad
- More Asian Side Dishes
More Asian Chicken Recipes You’ll Enjoy –
- Grilled Chicken Yakitori Skewers
- Whole30 Sesame Chicken
- Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry
- Air Fryer Whole Chicken
- Chicken Yakisoba Noodles
- Kung Pao Chicken
- Black pepper chicken
- Moo goo gai pan (chicken and mushroom stir-fry)
- More Paleo Chinese American cuisines
- More Paleo Chinese Taiwanese cuisines
My Paleo Whole30 Mongolian Chicken recipe is crispy, salty, naturally sweet, and just a little spicy, and coated in an addictive Mongolian sauce that’s perfect with steamed white rice. The chicken is golden crip and every bite is utterly delicious. If you are a lover of Chinese chicken dishes and want something healthier for you and your family, this no-fuss and no-fail recipe will be sure to delight even the pickiest chicken lovers!
Mongolian Chicken Recipe
For the Mongolian chicken:
- 0.6 oz. garlic, sliced, about 2 to 3 large cloves
- 1.2 oz. shallot, sliced to thin strips, about half of 1 whole large shallot
- 0.2 oz. ginger, julienned, about 2 tbsp julienned ginger
- 4 bulbs scallions, diced to 1.5-2 inch sections. Separate pale green & green parts
- 6-8 whole pieces Chinese dry red chilies, skip for non-spicy
- 2 pieces red fresno or serrano chilies, seeds removed & julienned (skip for non-spicy)
- Thin slice the chicken to about ¼ to ⅛ inch thin. In a large mixing bowl, season the chicken with ingredients from salt to five spice powder. Gently mix-well.
- Dust with arrowroot 1 tbsp a time (up to 4 tbsp). Try to coat them evenly. Some slices might stick to each other and that’s totally normal. Store in the fridge while you are waiting for the wok to get hot.
- In the meantime, pre-heat a large wok or Dutch oven over medium-heat until it feels hot to your palm when placing it near the surface about 2-3 inches away. Add 3 tbsp avocado oil.
- Fry the chicken in 2 separate batches over medium-high to high heat. Try your best to separate each slice. Some might stick and that’s totally normal. Fry the first side (without flipping it) for about 3 minutes and the flip side about 2 minutes. Set the first batch aside and continue to fry the second batch. Add 1 more tablespoon oil if needed. The color should be golden brown and crispy on the edges.
- In the meantime, prepare aromatic ingredients from garlic to chilies and set them in one large bowl and separate the green scallion parts.
- Combine the sauce in another bowl and set it aside.
- If the first batch of your chicken is not as golden crisp, add it back to the wok to shallow fry it twice with the second batch.
- Scoop the chicken out and set aside to keep warm.
- Use the same wok, add 1 tbsp oil, fry the aromatics with 2 small pinches of salt over medium-high heat for about 1 minute. Toss and scoop often so to not burn the herbs. Add chicken and green scallion parts to the wok and drizzle in the stir-fry sauce. Toss about 30 seconds over high heat.
- Off heat, serve hot and immediately.
- If you prefer to add more vegetables, please serve them on the side. The type of vegetable and timing in which it’s introduced to a stir-fry might affect the texture and flavor of a dish.
- Do you eat the dry red chili peppers? Nope you don’t. You can if you really like spicy food. In this recipe, the chili peppers are mainly used to get a hint of chili flavor from the outer skin. They also make the dish look really pretty with a deep red hue in the presentation. When you eat, simply push them aside. It’s part of the fun! 🙂
- Notes on handling fresh chili peppers: please do not touch your face or rub your eyes after handling chili peppers. Some people are extremely sensitive to them. I recommend wearing food prep gloves.
- To make this dish keto, skip the dusting of arrowroot starch and mix with 1 tbsp olive oil. Follow my Chicken and Broccoli recipe technique to pan sear the chicken. The chicken won’t be as crispy but it will still taste really yummy.