My idea for this spicy chicken stir-fry came from an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, one of my many guilty Food Network pleasures. We were practically drooling in front of the TV as the commercial for Blue Koi in Kansas City, Missouri, advertised one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, “Firebird Chicken,” a spicy chicken dish served over noodles.
In my opinion, Chinese Sacha BBQ sauce, commonly used for hot pot, is the main flavor component of this spicy chicken stir-fry dish. The Sacha sauce truly sets apart the Firebird Chicken and our knockoff version.
We stole the clever idea of soaking the chicken in water before applying the rest of the marinade straight from the show. We were skeptical at first, but the result was a chicken breast that was tender and juicy even after being stir-fried.
The first time I saw this recipe, I got excited, and now that we’ve made it a few times in our kitchen, I can’t wait for everyone to try it. This is the perfect opportunity to try Sacha sauce if you haven’t already.
For the Chicken and the Marinade:
- 12 oz. of chicken breast (chopped into ¼-inch thick pieces)
- 2 tablespoons of water
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon of oil
- ½ teaspoon of sesame oil
For the rest of the dish:
- 2 scallions (sliced 2-inch pieces)
- ½ cup of bamboo shoots
- 2 tablespoons of Sacha sauce
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing wine
- 1 tablespoon of chili oil
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- 1 teaspoon of minced ginger
- 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
Optional Auxiliary Sauce Kicker:
- 1/3 cup of chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon of light soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon of cornstarch (plus more water just enough to make a slurry, optional)
- Combine the chicken with 2 tablespoons of water in a bowl. Apply pressure with your hands to ensure the chicken absorbs all the water. Mix the chicken with the remaining marinade ingredients and set aside.
- Put 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok and heat it until it begins to smoke. The chicken should be seared for about 20 seconds in a single layer. Rip the chicken over for the remaining 20 seconds and sear the other side. Then return the meat to the marinade right away.
- Caramelize the ginger in the wok with an extra tablespoon of oil for 10 seconds. Incorporate the scallions and garlic as quickly as possible. Add the bamboo shoots and any accumulated juices from the bowl of seared chicken after 15 seconds.
- For this step, ensure that the wok is at its highest heat and is searing hot. Quickly add the Sacha sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and chili oil after pouring the tablespoon of Shaoxing wine around the wok. So that you can avoid fumbling with bottles and jars while you’re cooking, mix all these ingredients in a bowl before you turn on your stove. You can always adjust the chili oil you use to suit your preference if the recipe sounds too fiery.
- Combine all the ingredients in a stir-fry; at this point, you should have a glittering, spicy, delicious extravaganza. Chicken marinade’s cornstarch should thicken the sauce just a bit and mix well with the rest of the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon of chicken stock.
- Stir-fry for an additional 20 seconds after adding the sauce kicker ingredients if you prefer a lot of sauce. Put it on a plate with some rice.