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Mongolian Chicken

I sometimes think it is a shame that, in the important search for authenticity when preparing dishes from around the globe, we often take it as an excuse to disparage those dishes produced by immigrant communities in the United States. None more so than the Chinese-American community, whose dishes, while created for the American palate, still have a rightful place in the history of the cuisine of this country.

On top of which, many of them are really, really delicious.

A perfect example is this chicken dish. It is one that actually originated in Taiwan as an alternative to the more famous "Mongolian Beef." But, it soon became ubiquitous on US Chinese restaurant menus. Sweet, hot, savory and rich. It is perfect to serve with steamed rice.

A dish of Mongolian Chicken topped with scallions by Simon Majumdar

Mongolian Chicken Recipe

(Serves About 4)



For the Chicken:

  • 6 Chicken Thighs (Cubed)

  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon Chinese Cooking Wine

  • 1 Teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar

  • 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil

  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

  • 1 Whole Egg (Beaten)

  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch

  • 3 Tablespoons Cooking Oil


For The Sauce:

  • 1 Teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar

  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon Hoisin Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon Chinese Cooking Wine

  • 1 Chicken Bouillon Cube (crumbled)

  • 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil

  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch

  • 2 Tablespoons Cooking Oil

  • 6 Scallions (Separate White and Green Portions and Sliced)

  • 1 Inch Fresh Ginger (Minced)

  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)

  • 3 Dry Red Thai Chili



​For the Chicken:

  1. Place all of the cubes of chicken thigh in a bowl.

  2. Add all of the other ingredients and stir until all the chicken is completely coated.

  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  4. Bring the chicken out of the refrigerator 10 minutes before you begin cooking.

  5. When ready, bring the cooking oil to a high heat in a wok or frying pan.

  6. Cook the chicken in batches until it is about 50% cooked. (It will continue to cook once you add it to the sauce.)

  7. Take the chicken from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel until you are ready to add it to the sauce.​

For the Sauce:

  1. Combine the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, cooking wine, bouillon cube, sesame oil and brown sugar in a bowl.

  2. Whisk until it is a paste.

  3. Add the cornstarch to the liquid and whisk or beat with a fork until there are no lumps.

  4. Drain the pan or wok of the oil used to cook the chicken and add two more tablespoons of fresh oil. Don’t worry about any debris at the bottom of the pan. This will add to the flavor.

  5. Bring to a medium heat and add the sliced white part of the scallions. Cook for 1 minute.

  6. Add the ginger and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

  7. Add the Thai red chili. Cook for 1 minute.

  8. Return the chicken to the pan and combine well. Cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes.

  9. Add the sauce to the pan and reduce to a low heat.

  10. Simmer until the chicken is cooked and the sauce begins to coat the chicken thighs.

  11. Sprinkle with lots of the sliced green parts of the scallion.

  12. Serve with steamed rice.

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