Mongolian chicken is a dish that’s made its way from the heart of Asia to kitchens around the globe. This guide is your key to mastering the art of creating this delectable, savory-sweet chicken dish known for its bold flavors and quick cooking method. From the tender chicken to the aromatic sauce, you'll learn every ingredient and technique to whip up a perfect Mongolian chicken meal in your home kitchen.

Mongolian Chicken

Understanding Mongolian Chicken

Historically, Mongolian cuisine is heavily influenced by the nomadic lifestyle, which explains the simplicity and focus on meat and dairy. Mongolian chicken, however, is a more recent addition, presumed to have originated in Taiwan as a Westernized version of traditional Mongolian grilled lamb chops. The dish typically features sliced chicken, cooked quickly with scallions and garlic in a rich, dark sauce. The key to its flavor is the combination of soy sauce for saltiness, brown sugar for sweetness, and a hit of heat from chili peppers.

Ingredients You Will Need

For the Chicken Marinade:

  • 1 lb (450g) chicken breast or thigh, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

For the Mongolian Sauce:

  • 2/3 cup (160ml) low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) water or chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water (for thickening, optional)

For the Stir-Fry:

  • 1 cup (150g) sliced scallions
  • 2-3 dried red chilies, deseeded and chopped (for a milder taste, use red pepper flakes as a substitute)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) sherry or Chinese cooking wine

For Garnish (optional):

  • Sesame seeds
  • Sliced green onions

Preparing the Chicken

Step 1: Marinating the Chicken

Start by marinating your sliced chicken in a mixture of egg white, soy sauce, and cornstarch. This simple yet effective method is known as velveting, which helps the chicken stay tender and moist during stir-frying.

Step 2: Dredging and Dusting

Before you stir-fry, it can be beneficial to dust the marinated chicken pieces with a little cornstarch. This will help the chicken crisp up without needing too much oil during cooking.

The Cooking Method


Step 3: The Sizzle Begins

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add about a tablespoon of oil, and then the chicken. Stir-fry until the chicken is golden and just cooked through, then remove it from the wok.

Step 4: Making the Sauce

Add a little more oil to the wok, followed by garlic, ginger, and chilies. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the soy sauce, sugar, and water (or broth). Allow the sauce to come to a simmer, then throw in the thickening mixture if you’re using it.

Step 5: Final Assembly

Add the chicken back into the wok, along with the scallions. Stir until everything is well coated and the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat.

Baking or Nondirect Cooking

For a healthier - and still delicious - take on Mongolian chicken, you can also bake the marinated chicken in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for about 20-25 minutes. Ensure the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). You can also use a slow cooker for a hands-off process that infuses the chicken with intense flavor.

Serving Suggestions

Mongolian chicken's simplicity is complemented by the variety of ways it can be served. Here are some serving suggestions to elevate your dining experience:

  • Serve over a bed of steaming white or brown rice to soak up the savory sauce.
  • Accompany with a side of steamed or stir-fried vegetables for a complete meal that’s both nutritious and delicious.
  • Spice it up with a side of hot chili sauce or Sriracha if you like it extra fiery.

Healthier Mongolian Chicken Alternatives

Mongolian chicken, while delicious, can be quite heavy in sugar and sodium. Here are some ways to make this dish a bit healthier:

  • Substitute low-sodium soy sauce to cut down on salt. You can also use tamari for a gluten-free version.
  • Increase the quantity of vegetables like bell peppers, snap peas, or carrots to add more fiber and nutrients to the dish.
  • Use lean chicken breast and minimal oil if you’re stir-frying to reduce the fat content.


Mongolian chicken is a wonderful dish to prepare for a quick, flavorful meal that the whole family will love. Its versatility and ease of preparation make it an excellent addition to your home cooking repertoire. Remember to adjust the spice levels and ingredients to suit your taste and dietary needs, and enjoy the rich fusion flavors of the East made with your personalized touch. Happy cooking!

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