Food

Yueh Tung's Chili Chicken Recipe

Easy instructions for making this in-demand Hakka restaurant recipe at home.

Easy instructions for making this in-demand Hakka restaurant recipe at home

(Photo: Michael Jacob and Warren Lowe, submitted by Michael Liu and Mei Wang)

This recipe comes to us from Michael Liu and Mei Wang, the owners of Yueh Tung, a restaurant serving Hakka cuisine in downtown Toronto. The restaurant and fans alike would agree, their chili chicken is among the favourite dishes on the menu. While Yueh Tung's sauce is available for purchase, the recipe below includes easy instructions for how to make it at home.

Yueh Tung’s Chili Chicken Recipe

Yueh Tang restaurant owners Michael Liu and Mei Wang don’t insist on it, but they’d encourage you to consider frying the chicken here twice before stir-frying it with the sauce ingredients. “At the restaurant, the heat is high; at home … double-fry [the chicken],” Wang suggests

*You can use a jar of Yueh Tung’s Vooka Hakka Chili Chicken sauce, but the instructions for how to make it from scratch follow.

Ingredients

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 500 grams)
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • ½ white or yellow medium-sized onion, cut into strips
  • 3 or 4 green Thai chili peppers, 2 sliced and set aside for garnish (optional)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

Chili Chicken Sauce:

  • 1 tsp Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili sauce
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp water mixed with 1 tbsp potato starch (the slurry)

Preparation

Cut the chicken into ½-inch sized cubes, then coat them in the potato starch and dust off any excess starch. Heat all but a tablespoon of the oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat, and carefully add the chicken and fry until golden brown (fry in batches if needed). Remove the chicken and carefully strain the oil into a heatproof jar through a mesh strainer or cheesecloth, to reserve the oil for future use.

Using the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onions, chilis and the garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, then add the chicken back to the pan. 

(*If using the pre-made Yueh Tung Hakka Chili Chicken sauce (see headnote), add the sauce and stir-fry well to coat the chicken and to heat the sauce, garnish with the reserved chilies and serve with rice. Otherwise, continue with the recipe.)

Add the cooking wine and stir to deglaze the pan. Then add the light and dark soy sauce, chili sauce and salt, and stir-fry until the chicken is well coated with all of the ingredients. Add the cup of water and when the mixture comes to a light simmer, add in the slurry (make sure that the slurry is well-mixed first to avoid any lumps), stirring the bottom of the mixture as it’s poured in so that it doesn’t coagulate. Stir fry for a minute more, then serve, garnished with the reserved chillies (if using), and rice.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

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