I'll start controversially by saying I don't really like honey chilli chicken. I think most versions are sickly sweet with a gloopy MSG filled sauce and the balance usually leans more with the honey than the chilli in flavour. Each to their own though so my version is going to be light on the honey and heavy on the chilli. The sauce takes a matter of minutes to make and you can alter the amount of heat by adding as little or as much chilli powder as you wish. There are three stages in preparing the dish, marinating the chicken, making the crispy coating / frying and finally preparing the sauce.
For the chicken marinade
- 3 Chicken breasts
- Soy Sauce 3 Tablespoons
- 5 spice powder 1 Teaspoon
- Chilli powder 2 Teaspoons (alter as you wish)
For the coating
- Salt 2 Teaspoons
- 1 Egg
- Cornflour 6 Tablespoons
- 1/2 litre vegetable oil for frying
For the Honey Chilli Sauce
- Garlic 3 cloves
- Vegetable oil 1 Tablespoon
- Red chilli 1
- Chilli sauce 3 Table spoons (alter as you wish)
- Honey 1 Tablespoon
- Soy 5 Tablespoons
- Juice of 1/4 Lemon
- Cider vinegar 1 Tablespoon
- 1 Spring onion
- Sesame seeds 1 Tablespoon
The first step is to slice the chicken and add the first layer of flavour. You want to cut the chicken in thinnish strips the same size so they fry equally. Then add the soy sauce, five spice and chilli powder and mix well.
You can marinade the chicken for as long or as little time as you wish. For the crispy coating then add the cornflour, egg, and salt and mix until you reach a thickish batter like consistently.
To fry the chicken add the vegetable oil to a deep-frying pan or pot and heat on high. It should take around 4-5 minutes for the oil to come up to temperature depending on the depth of the pan. Test the temperature by dropping a piece of chicken in the oil and if it starts to sizzle quite aggressively you are good to go. Add the chicken and ensure you shake off the excess coating and stir continuously for around 5 minutes. I only used three small breasts meaning I could add all the chicken at once. If you are cooking for more people then fry the chicken in batches otherwise the oil will drop in temperature to the point were the chicken will absorb the oil and braise rather than fry.
Remove the chicken when it has turned a light golden colour which should take around 5 minutes.
Now on to the sauce. First up is the holy trinity of Chinese cooking, garlic, chilli and spring onion. Get the wok smoking hot and add the oil along with the above, stir fry for about 30 seconds only otherwise the garlic will burn and produce a bitter taste.
Next add the soy, chilli sauce, honey and lemon juice and mix well for a further 30 seconds until combined.
The final step is to put the dish together. Add the chicken straight to the wok, stir and finally add a splash of apple cider vinegar (or regular vinegar will do). It's this combination of the sweet, hot and sour that makes the dish so don't forget the vinegar.
Keep the chicken moving around the wok for a further minute to ensure it's piping hot and the sauce is thick and coats the chicken.
I served with fried egg noodle but fried rice would also be an excellent choice.
Hope you enjoy,