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Two Peas and Their Pod: Recipe for Hunan Chicken with Chow Mein Noodles and Vegetables

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Recipe for Hunan Chicken with Chow Mein Noodles and Vegetables

Maria asked me to write this post since it is our blog! So you get to here from Josh today!!

There is one thing that I really miss about living in the Bay Area, besides living close to my family...the great Chinese Food
. When I lived in Martinez, California, a great little town in the East Bay, there was a fantastic Chinese restaurant. All of their food was great but my favorite dish was the Hunan Chicken. It was sweet and spicy and the flavors were mixed perfectly. My brother and I loved to order the "Human Chicken", it always made us laugh, but they did not always think we were too funny.

When I found out I was moving I tried every method to get their recipe. I first asked them for it, then I offered to pay for it, then I actually got on my knees and begged for it, but nothing worked.

Our friend, who took the orders, said the cook would not give the recipe to anyone, not even the family. Anyways, my sister-in-law Whitney and I tried to look up this recipe then and all we found was Hunan Chicken recipes that contained ketchup. That didn't sound good to us, so I gave up the search. I recently stumbled upon a recipe that sounded a little similar so I tried to recreate our favorite "Human Chicken."

The recipe was really good, it came pretty close! I served the chicken with Chow Mein noodles and vegetables. Maria just had noodles and veggies, she still won't try my chicken:)

Hunan Chicken

Adapted from Tyler Florence


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil (or canola if you are allergic)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 slices fresh ginger, smashed
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For Frying:

  • Vegetable Oil, or Peanut oil, for frying
  • 2 cups Buttermilk
  • 4 cups of flour


  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch for slurry
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 4 dried red Thai chilies
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 thick strips orange zest
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish


Put the chicken into a bowl with the marinade ingredients. Stir well to combine all the flavors, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2hours. Heat vegetable oil, or peanut oil in a wok or deep skillet to 375 degrees F. Add the marinated chicken and coat it well with the batter. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken pieces in batches until they are browned and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels. When you have fried all the chicken. Over high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil add the chilies, scallion, garlic, ginger, and orange zest. Stir-fry for 1 minute then pour in the soy sauce, chicken stock, vinegar, and honey and bring it to a boil. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water until smooth. Pour the slurry into the boiling sauce, in 2 additions, until the sauce thickens. Add the chicken pieces and cook until they are heated through, about 2 more minutes. Garnish with scallions and cilantro leaves. Serve with the noodle and vegetable recipe below.

**This recipe is good, but it was not as delicious as my favorite. When I do this again I will add sliced JalapeƱos, I will use less soy sauce and maybe add some brown sugar. Mess with it until you can get it to your taste.

Chow Mein Noodles with Vegetables

  • 3 ounces dried Chinese egg noodles
  • 1-2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth, low-sodium canned
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus more for the table
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dark Asian sesame oil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 scallion, white and green minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 10 dried shittake mushrooms, rehydrated, drained, and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced canned water chestnuts
  • 6 ounces fresh mung bean sprouts
  • Mixed vegetables-we used snow peas, zucchini, broccoli, and yellow squash


Boil the noodles according to package instructions. Drain in a colander in the sink and rinse under cold running water. Shake the colander to drain off excess water and pat the noodles dry with a towel. Heat oil in a large seasoned or non-stick skillet over high heat. Add the noodles, spreading them out to evenly cover the skillet, and fry, turning once, until golden brown and crispy, about 8 minutes. (Break the noodles up, by stirring, near the end of the cooking). Transfer noodles to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt to taste. Set aside. Discard any excess oil and wipe out the pan. Whisk together the vegetable broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, cornstarch, and sugar in a small bowl, and set aside. Heat the skillet over high heat. Add a little oil if you need to then add the ginger, garlic, and scallion and stir-fry, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onion, celery, and mushrooms, and mixed veggies and stir-fry, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the water chestnuts and spread the ingredients to the outside of the pan to form a well in the center. Pour the broth mixture into the well, bring to a boil, and stir to coat the chow mein mixture. Stir in the bean sprouts and remove from the heat. Season generously to taste with pepper. Transfer mixture to a warm platter and top with the fried noodles. Pass more soy sauce at the table.



Blogger Barbara Bakes said...

Just the marinade alone sounds fabulous!

6:20 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

This looks great! I have not had Chinese food in a while -- and this totally has me craving some!

6:40 AM  
Blogger Erica said...

JOSH! This sounds amazing! My Josh would love this too. Book marking it :) I grew up in Pleasanton, CA. I love San Fran! Chinese food there is too good.

6:47 AM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

That looks fantastic. That might have to be on our menu for this weekend! Yum!

6:58 AM  
Blogger Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That's a delicious looking dish! I love Chinese food... Yummy!



6:59 AM  
Blogger Culinary Wannabe said...

This looks awesome! Maria is one lucky girl (even without the chicken)! :)

7:00 AM  
Blogger Mary Bergfeld said...

This is one fine looking meal and great to have during the Chinese New Year celebration.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Peggy said...

YUM. that sounds so good. Too many ingredients for me to handle though. I guess I'll stick with takeout. Unless you can pass me some through the web! Would love to try yours.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

It looks delicious! I would gobble that chicken down.

7:34 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

Erica-I love that we both married Josh's:)

Kirsten- Good to see you! Yes, add this to your menu!

Culinarywannabe- I know I am lucky, thanks!

Peggy-I wish we could pass some through the web, wouldn't that be nice!

Megan-You can have my share of the chicken anytime:)

7:38 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

mmm... looks so inviting... noodles, a chinese staple dish... :)

7:41 AM  
Blogger Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

This looks and sounds amazing. I am bookmarking this to try next week.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

I love Hunan chicken and this looks amazing! YUM!

7:50 AM  
Blogger Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Wow, looks great!

8:19 AM  
Blogger Allie said...

What a great chinese feast! We love Hunana Chicken and glad I'm not the only one searching for a good recipe, can't wait to make this!

8:28 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Yum. It looks so tasty - the sauce sounds perfect. I sure wish my husband would cook a meal like this for me.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

Allie- I hope you like this recipe. It was really good!

Pam- I am lucky Josh enjoys cooking. He is really good too! He was excited to make this dish!

8:55 AM  
Blogger Finla said...

Wowo this looks so delicious, i am bookmarking them for making this chicken.
Yeah i know chefs don't part with their secrets, only we guys are so free about our reccipes.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Dewi said...

Whoa.. Maria, your dish make my mouth water. It is not even a lunch time yet.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

Happy Cook- I don't understand why some people won't share recipes. I love sharing mine!

Elra- Food blogging always makes me hungry! Hopefully lunch time will arrive sooner than later:)

9:39 AM  
Blogger Apples and Butter said...

Looks and sounds delicious! Nice to hear from you. Also loving the new banner!

9:45 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

I worked in Martinez for 5 years! Are you talking about Sunflower Garden?

9:50 AM  
Blogger Aggie said...

Oh this looks delicious!! I am totally bookmarking it for future Asian nights at our house which is becoming a weekly thing for us. Great recipe!!

9:53 AM  
Blogger Spryte said...

mmmmmmmmmmmm.... that looks so good!

10:33 AM  
Blogger priscilla joy said...

Wow, that looks good. Something I miss about Calli is their amazing food too. But, I think Maria *really* ought to try the chicken, it looks so good!

10:59 AM  
Blogger How To Eat A Cupcake said...

My b/f and I were just talking last night over take-out about why we've never make our own chinese food at home. Thanks for this recipe!

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hunan chicken looks wonderful and chow mein noodles are always my favorite! Great recipe!

11:03 AM  
Blogger The Blonde Duck said...

I'll try the chicken!

11:50 AM  
Blogger Tyler Root said...

WOW!! It's lunch time and that just made me REALLY hungry. I'm going to have to try this someday.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Jodi said...

I love it when you have recipes using zucchini!!! This looks great. It is frustrating when someone doesn't give up a recipe! :)

11:58 AM  
Blogger vanillasugarblog said...

Wonderful dish. I just love that sauce. I love a really good Chinese dish too. Take out is so so, but homemade is fantastic.

1:31 PM  
Blogger La Bella Cooks said...

I live near the bay area and definitely know what you are saying about the delicious Asian food. Hard to beat once you get into the city, but yours looks fantastic.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

Glad to hear from the other pea. This Hunan Chicken looks great. You ought to check out Rasa Malaysia for a lot of great restaurant type recipes. She may have the Hunan Chicken, I mean Human Chicken.

One tip she gives on her site is to put the chicken in baking powder and corn starch for about 15 minutes. It really tenderizes chicken.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Suburban Monkey said...

Joshy!!! I am so excited to try this recipe! A flood of memories came back to me just thinkin about the human chicken! Miss you guys!

2:37 PM  
Blogger Manggy said...

Hey Josh! That looks reeeally good! And I just had Chinese earlier! :) I wonder what the versions with ketchup taste like, heh heh :) Well done!

2:54 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

Thanks for all of the kind comments.

Sara: It wasnot the sunflower. Where would would go is still there but different owners and it is sub par now. That is a whole differnt story but it made us sad.

Lori. I will have to try the Baking powder thing. I really didn't have any problem with the chicken being tender or good. I just did not get the sauce to where I wanted it.

Thanks agian for the comments, and Whitney you guys need to get in the car and get here ASAP!

3:11 PM  
Blogger anudivya said...

Love Chinese food and you did a great job with it. Hope Maria had a fun time enjoying it.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Reeni said...

I'll try your Chicken!! It looks great! There used to be a restaurant called Hunan 9 that had the best Chinese I've ever had, including this chicken. Sadly they closed, I haven't found any place that can compare.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Clumbsy Cookie said...

Ok now I'll have to go and buy chinese tomorrow! This is a great dish!

3:35 PM  
Blogger Balance, Joy and Delicias! said...

good work Josh, both dishes look amazingly too me! :D

4:18 PM  
Blogger Tanya said...

This really does sound wonderful. Great recipe!

5:03 PM  
Blogger glamah16 said...

That looks wonderful.Im starting to prefer homemade Chinese now because its so fun to make.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Jan said...

I can't believe you lived in Martinez, I lived in Benicia for 4 years. Small world isn't it?

Hunan chicken is one of my faves too. Perhaps you think it needs tweaking a bit, but it looks and sounds bloody brilliant to me.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This looks amazing! I love Chinese food. It is my one of many weaknesses in the kitchen. I bought a wok from Ikea for $7.99 to practice. Maybe, I will try this one out. I just better have a fire extinguisher handy (haha).

6:04 PM  
Blogger Prudy said...

Oh yummy! This looks pretty similar to my post today so now I want yours too. (Similar method on the chicken and the noodles) It looks fantastic! Huge congrats on your Viking gig with Josh. You guys will be great!

6:20 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

mmmm. that all sounds so, so good! i'd gobble up a whole bowl very quickly!!

7:19 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

OH MAN! This looks killer!

3:26 AM  
Blogger LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Mmm, lovin' all the vegetables!!

4:23 AM  
Blogger grace said...

i'm not crazy about chinese food, mostly due to ignorance about what's actually in each dish, but i find this stuff very appetizing! :)

5:11 AM  
Blogger Live.Love.Eat said...

I love Tyler and I love good Asian. This looks fantastic!!!!

7:19 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wow! That really looks great!

1:47 PM  
Blogger Cakelaw said...

LOL - I think the "human chicken" is funny, and sounds delicious.

6:09 PM  

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