This crispy homemade Chinese Salt and Pepper Chicken is made with tender chicken thigh pieces lightly battered, fried till crispy and tossed with plenty of chillies&garlic. It is the perfect fakeaway dish to make for your family on a Friday night and goes great with a bowl of Spicy Egg Fried Rice and a bottle of cold beer.
This easy recipe takes only 30 minutes to prepare and cook, and it tastes so much better than your favourite takeaway. I use eggs in this recipe to coat the chicken before dipping it into corn flour, which makes it extra crispy and full of flavour.
Why This Recipe Works?
- With my simple recipe, you can cook at home better than your local takeaway.
- You only need a few ingredients to make this popular Chinese takeaway dish.
- This quick and easy salt and pepper chicken dish is perfect as a party snack or a main course served with Spicy Egg Fried Rice and stir-fried vegetables.
- They are full of flavour and addictive.
- You can adjust the amount of the spice to your taste, just replace some of the chillies with bell peppers if you prefer a milder dish.
- The leftovers are great to make wraps with some lettuce and spicy&garlicky sauce.
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Chicken thighs - I prefer them to the chicken breast for this recipe, as they stand up better to this high heat cooking without drying out while the chicken breast will become dry and stringy.
- Cornflour - You can buy cornflour from every grocery store. Alternatively, you can use corn starch or potato starch if you don’t have cornflour.
- Eggs - They create structure and stability within a batter as well as colour and crispness.
- Rice wine - It is made by the fermentation of rice starch, traditionally used in Asian cooking. You can substitute rice wine with Shaoxing wine or sake.
- Chinese five-spice - It is a very popular ingredient in Chinese and Asian cuisine and works brilliantly in this recipe. This spice powder gives Chinese dishes its iconic taste combination.
- Corn starch - It absorbs the moisture from the chicken which makes the coating crispier. You can substitute it with wheat starch or potato starch.
- Chilli - The type of chilli you choose depends on how hot you like it. You can replace it with red and green bell pepper if you don't like the heat at all.
- Red Pepper - You can use green or yellow peppers or omit them.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic is a great flavouring that adds sweetness and nuttiness to dishes. Turn it into a paste with a Mortar and Pestle or grate it using a Microplane Zester Grater. I use two large or three small fresh garlic cloves for this recipe. You can adjust the amount to your taste.
- Oil - I generally use vegetable oil, canola oil, rapeseed oil or sunflower oil for frying for their neutral taste.
How to Make Salt and Pepper Chicken?
This is a very simple, straightforward recipe and to achieve the best results, you need to follow a few simple steps:
Prepare the Vegetables
Finely slice the chillies (deseed them first if you don't want them too hot), spring onions, red peppers and garlic. Set them aside on a plate.
Batter the Chicken Pieces
Mix the cornflour, eggs, rice wine, salt, Chinese five-spice and black pepper in a bowl. Put the corn starch separately onto a large flat plate. Dice chicken thighs into even bite-size pieces and then cover them with batter.
Remove the chicken pieces from the batter and then add them to the plate with corn starch. Toss the chicken pieces until it is all evenly coated. Don't let the coated batter sit too long before putting them in hot oil or the moisture of the chicken will soak up the cornflour.
Fry the Chicken Pieces
Heat ½ cup of oil in a wok. It might take a while until it gets really hot, depending on your pan and stove. Add the coated chicken pieces to the pan and then fry for a few minutes, until lightly browned.
Do it in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Stir the chicken pieces to brown the other side, and cook for a further 5 to 6 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and brown and crispy on the outside.
Remove the chicken pieces from the pan, and then set them aside on a piece of kitchen roll to get rid of excess oil. Keep them warm while stir-frying the vegetables.
Stir Fry the Vegetables
Add chillies and garlic to the same wok, add a little oil if needed and then sauté for a minute. Stir in the spring onions and salt, and cook for another minute.
Add the cooked chicken pieces to the wok, stir well to coat them in the vegetable mix, and then cook for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and serve on a bed of rice or noodles.
For more delicious chicken recipes why not try:
You can serve this delicious fakeaway dish on a bed of Spicy Egg Fried Rice or with some vegetable noodles. You can also enjoy it as a snack or appetiser. The leftovers are great to make wraps with some lettuce and spicy&garlicky sauce.
Yes, and it is much healthier and easier to make them if you have an air fryer. Coat the air fryer with a brush with some oil. Add all the battered chicken pieces to the fryer and fry them. Place them in a single layer to avoid overcrowding the fryer.
Set the temperature to 190 °C for 25 minutes and toss the basket every 10 minutes. Give it extra 5 minutes at 200°C if the chicken needs a nice brown texture. Stir fry the vegetables in a wok with 1 teaspoon of oil. Mix the vegetables with fried chicken and serve immediately.
When served as a main course, one portion of this dish has 545 kcal.
Top Tip From the Chef
- Do not overcrowd the pan or air frying tray with the chicken pieces. Try to cook in batches to get a perfectly fried, crispy and brown salt and pepper chicken.
- This is a really quick recipe and the stir-frying takes less than 5 minutes so do your preparation in advance before you start cooking.
- The frying time depends on your pan and stove, take my timings as a guide and keep an eye on your chicken when frying. An electric stove and nonstick pan will take longer than a powerful gas stove and heavy-duty pan.
I hope you enjoy the process of making this homemade Chinese fakeaway Salt & Pepper Chicken as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Did you make this recipe?
Salt and Pepper Chicken
For the Chicken
- 700 g chicken thighs
- 100 g cornflour
- 2 small eggs
- 1 tablespoon rice wine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon Chinese five spice
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 50 g corn or wheat starch
For the Vegetables
- 1 red chilli (finely sliced)
- ½ sweet red pepper (finely sliced)
- 3 cloves garlic (finely sliced)
- 4 spring onions (finely sliced)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- vegetable or sunflower oil for frying
- Mix the cornflour, eggs, rice wine, salt, Chinese five-spice and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl.
- Put the corn starch onto a large flat plate.
- Dice chicken thighs into even bite-size pieces and then cover them with batter.
- Remove the chicken pieces from the batter and then add them to the plate with corn starch.
- Toss the chicken pieces until it is all evenly coated. Do not let the coated batter sit too long before putting them in hot oil or the moisture of the chicken will soak up the cornflour.
- Heat ½ cup of oil in a wok. It might take a while until it gets really hot, depending on your pan and stove.
- Add the coated chicken pieces to the pan and fry for a few minutes, until lightly browned. Do it in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
- Stir the chicken pieces to brown the other side, and cook for a further 5 to 6 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and brown and crispy on the outside.
- Remove the chicken pieces from the pan, and set them aside on a piece of kitchen roll to get rid of excess oil. Keep them warm while cooking the vegetables.
- Add chillies and garlic to the same wok, add a little oil if needed and sauté for a minute.
- Stir in the spring onions and salt, and cook for another minute.
- Add the cooked chicken pieces to the wok, stir well to coat them in the vegetable mix, and cook for a few more minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve on a bed of rice or noodles.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
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