I love everything about this Firecracker Chicken ~ the vivid peppers, the tender chunks of chicken, and the fiery sweet and spicy sauce ~ it’s so much better than takeout!
VINTAGE VIEW ~ this firecracker chicken recipe is from TVFGI archives, first published in 2013. As part of a series on the blog I’m reviving some of the best recipes that you may have missed over the years ~ I’ve updated my notes and taken new photos. I’ve even managed to streamline the recipe a bit to make it quicker and easier to get on the table ~ score!
This Firecracker Chicken is one of my take out from scratch recipes. I’ve already recreated a bunch of my favorite take out foods and each one has been spot on:
But I’m not stopping till I’ve mastered every one of my favorite take out dishes. Why? Because when I make it myself I know I’m getting quality fresh ingredients and I can get it just the way I like it. Delivery’s great, but homemade’s better.
You know the only thing your favorite Chinese restaurants have that you don’t have? Authentic spices and condiments. They’re waiting for you right in the regular grocery store, just take a minute to scan the Asian food section. Things like plum sauce, hoisin sauce, and sesame oil really make this recipe, and if you stock them in a little section of your refrigerator, these awesome flavors can be at your fingertips. I’ve reserved the bottom row in my fridge door for all my Asian condiments so I’m always prepared for a great take-out-from-home night.
The vivid colors of the peppers make this dish so inviting. You can use assorted varieties from a farmers market, or standard bells from the produce aisle, just make sure they’re colorful.
Of course this is firecracker chicken and that means you’ll need to heat things up with a few hot peppers, too. You can use standard jalapeños or serranos, or go for tiny cayenne or Thai peppers if you can find them. If they’re hot, they’ll work.
Everything in this dish gets flash cooked, stir fry style, so the only time consuming part is the prep: chopping the veggies and chicken, and mixing the sauce.
Tip: prep everything the day before (cut the chicken, slice the peppers, and whisk up the sauce) and you can have this on the table in no time.
With peppers it’s all about the CRUNCH. I only cook them briefly, just long enough to take the raw edge off, I want to preserve that bright color and crisp texture, which is what makes this meal so much fun.
You have to make this, it’s amazing. And then we have to think about what’s next on our list of take-out favorites to conquer. I’m open to suggestions…
*Want to take your Firecracker Chicken to go? You can find take out boxes HERE.
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast or tenders
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour or gluten free flour
- salt and freshly cracked pepper
- vegetable oil peanut oil works well
- 1 onion peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 thumb sized piece of ginger peeled and minced
- 4 cups chopped multi-colored bell peppers
- 1-2 hot peppers thinly sliced (use the seeds for more heat, and leave them out for less)
for the sauce
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice substitute orange or pineapple
- 1 Tbsp Tamari soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp plum sauce
- 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sriracha sauce
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 5 green onions thinly sliced
- sesame seeds
- Mix the sauce in a measuring cup --- whisk together all the ingredients. Add water to bring the mixture up to a cup. Set aside.
- Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.
- Whisk the egg, cornstarch and flour together with a tablespoon of water. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Pour oil into a wok or frying pan to a depth of about 1/2 inch. Heat the oil to about 340F. Working in batches, drop the chicken into the egg and cornstarch mixture, coating it completely, and then into the oil and fry until golden, about 2 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked. Flip the chicken halfway through cooking. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
- Wipe out the pan, and heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger for about 5 minutes, until the onion is softened.
- Add the peppers, both sweet and hot, to the pan and stir fry over high heat for another few minutes, just until the peppers have lost their 'raw' edge. They should still be bright and crunchy.
- Add the chicken back to the pan and heat through.
- Shove the food to one side of the wok and pour the sauce into the pan. Tilt the pan so the sauce can come to a boil and thicken. Once the sauce has come to a boil it will become instantly thick and glossy. Stir everything together to coat with the sauce and heat through.
- Serve hot over rice, garnished with sliced green onion and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Make this Firecracker Chicken your own ~
Try it with shrimp in place of chicken.
Lower the fat by sautéing the chicken instead of frying.