This Chinese dragon chicken recipe is spicy marinated chicken that is lightly fried then sauteed with cashew nuts and peppers, served alone or with rice.
If you've ever been to a Chinese restaurant, you've most likely encountered Dragon Chicken. As a spicy food lover, this is a recipe you'll want to keep in your recipe box.
Dragon Chicken is a mildly spicy recipe of chicken that is marinated in a wonderful collection of flavors. The chicken lightly fried and simmered in a spicy tangy sauce with cashew nuts that imbues the entire dish with loads of flavor.
It's a very easy recipe to prepare, ideal for a simple weeknight dinner. I often love to plan ahead a bit and start my chicken marinating in the morning. Or, sometimes the evening before I want to make it.
Then, when we're ready for dinner, I can have it on the table in under 30 minutes. Isn't that great? PERFECT for a slow cook like me.
Dragon Chicken breaks down in three separate steps, which includes the following:
- Dragon Sauce
About the Marinade
Dragon chicken marinade is a simple collection of chopped ginger and garlic, paprika chili powder, light soy sauce and a bit of salt.
You can, of course, use other ingredients, such as a citrus or other chili powders to your personal tastes. Honey is also a nice addition, as it adds not only a touch of sweetness, but also stickiness.
I have found this particular mixture gives a lot of overall flavor to the chicken.
I like to marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator to get the most out of the marinade flavor. However, if you're in a rush, you can marinate it for an hour and still achieve some pretty darned great flavor.
About the Dragon Sauce
The Dragon Chicken sauce can be made in several different ways. The primary ingredients include tomato sauce, soy sauce, chicken stock, and a number of seasonings, including garam masala, paprika chili powder, a bit of sugar (if preferred), and salt and pepper.
It also incorporates chili peppers and onion for flavor, which break down when cooked and add a lot to the finished dish. Bell peppers are commonly used. I've opted to include a jalapeno pepper because I love the basic heat level and flavor.
If you're looking to spice things up a little, include a serrano pepper, or other spicier chili peppers to your personal tastes.
I've seen a number of recipes that use ketchup instead of tomato sauce. I've found that tomato sauce with a pinch of sugar offers a superior flavor to the final dish.
However, if you prefer to use your favorite brand of ketchup, go for it!
Once you've marinated your chicken and have all of your ingredients ready, making Dragon Chicken is rather simple. It just cooking up your ingredients in a single pot or pan. One pan recipes are awesome!
Let's talk about how we make it, shall we?
How to Make Dragon Chicken - the Recipe Method
First, make your marinade by crushing the ginger and garlic into a paste.
Combine it with the paprika, soy sauce and salt. Pour it into a bowl or a bag and add your chopped chicken breast. You can also use chopped chicken thighs.
Rub the chicken down with it. Get it nice and rubbed in. Marinate the chicken at least 1 hour. As discussed, the longer the better. Overnight is best.
Next, beat the egg in a wide bowl and stir in the corn starch and water to form a slurry. If needed, add a bit more water.
Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large pan.
Dredge the chicken through the corn starch mixture. Fry the pieces in the oil until they crisp up, about 6-7 minutes. Remove the golden brown chicken and set it aside for now.
Drain about half of the remaining oil from the pan, then add the onion, peppers and cashew nuts. Cook them down about 5 minutes to soften.
Add the garlic and ginger and cook another minute.
Stir in the tomato sauce, soy sauce, chicken stock, paprika, garam masala and sugar. Add salt and pepper to your personal tastes.
Cook, stirring often, over high heat, about 10 minutes, or until the sauce reduces. If it gets too thick, add a bit more stock.
Working with high heat here is best, as it will develop the best flavor.
Add in the cooked chicken and cook another couple of minutes, until the chicken is heated through and coated.
BOOM! That's it, my friends!
Garnish and serve it up! Pretty easy, right? I love an easy, spicy recipe. Add on some spring onion, crushed peppers, chili peppers slices, fresh herbs and more.
Serving Suggestions for Dragon Chicken
You can serve Dragon Chicken on its own, or serve it over rice. White rice is totally fine, but I love it over a good fried rice.
If serving it on its own, it can be a simple appetizer to start the meal or for small plates in a party situation. It can also be a flavorful side dish.
That's it, my friends! I hope you enjoy your Dragon Chicken! Great stuff! I love this recipe.
If you enjoy cooking Chinese or other Asian cuisine, I recommend these books for a lot of easy and iconic recipes. I've learning a lot from them and have been inspired to make many spicy dishes.
- 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die: Discover a New World of Flavors in Authentic Recipes - by Chef Jet Tila
- Easy Chinese Cookbook, Restaurant Favorites Made Simple, by Chris Toy
- Essential Wok Cookbook, by Naomi Imatome-Yum
Try Some of My Popular Chinese Recipes
- Szechuan Chicken
- Hunan Chicken
- General Tso's Chicken
- Kung Pao Chicken
- Mongolian Beef
- Sweet and Spicy Cashew Chicken
- Sweet & Spicy Teriyaki Chicken
- Pepper Steak
- Bourbon Chicken
- Dan Dan Noodles
- Homemade Hoisin Sauce
Try Some of My Other Popular Spicy Chicken Recipes
- Chicken Vindaloo
- Spicy Thai Curry Chicken Soup
- Khao Soi (Northern Thai Coconut Curry Soup)
- Ghost Pepper Chicken Curry
- Korean Chicken
- Korean Fried Chicken
Growing up, I wasn't a big fan of Chinese food. My parents loved it, but I never acquired the taste for it. As my taste buds have grown and evolved, I found that I love a lot of flavors in Chinese food. I really love this dish. It's nice and spicy, but not TOO spicy for me. I think a lot of people would really appreciate this recipe.
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS.Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Dragon Chicken Recipe
- 1.25 pounds chicken breast cut into bite-sized chunks
FOR THE MARINADE
- 2 tablespoons chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic about 2-3 cloves
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
- Pinch of salt
FOR THE DRAGON CHICKEN PREPARATION
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 teaspoon water
FOR THE DRAGON SAUCE
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper chopped (or use spicy Chinese peppers)
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- ¼ cup cashew nuts (or more to your taste)
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
- ¼ cup tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- FOR GARNISH Chopped green onions, sliced chili peppers, spicy chili flakes
- Make your marinade first by crushing the ginger and garlic into a paste. Combine it with the paprika, soy sauce and salt. Pour it into a bowl or a bag and add the chicken. Rub the chicken down with it. Marinade at least 1 hour.
- Next, beat the egg in a wide bowl and stir in the corn starch and water to form a slurry. If needed, add a bit more water.
- Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large pan.
- Dredge the chicken through the corn starch mixture, then fry the pieces in the oil until they crisp up, about 6-7 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside for now.
- Drain about half of the remaining oil from the pan, then add the onion, peppers and cashew nuts. Cook them down about 5 minutes to soften.
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook another minute.
- Stir in the tomato sauce, soy sauce, chicken stock, paprika, garam masala and sugar. Add salt and pepper to your personal tastes.
- Cook, stirring often, over high heat, about 10 minutes, or until the sauce reduces. If it gets too thick, add a bit more stock.
- Add in the cooked chicken and cook another couple of minutes, until the chicken is heated through and coated.
- Garnish and serve!