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Indian Hakka Chili Chicken

Andrew Chase
The Hakka are an ethnic group from China who have settled throughout South and Southeast Asia. In India, and particularly in Kolkata, many Hakka opened restaurants and developed their own cuisine using Chinese techniques combined with Indian flavours. Chili chicken is a real favourite at Hakka restaurants in India and here in Canada.


  • 1 lb  (500 g)  boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1/2 tsp  (2 mL)  each salt and white pepper
  • 1/3 cup  (75 mL)  chicken stock or water
  • 2 tbsp  (30 mL)  sodium-reduced soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 tbsp  (22 mL)  ketchup
  • 2 tsp  (10 mL)  cornstarch
  • 2 tsp  (10 mL)  granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp  (5 mL)  black rice vinegar (Substitute any other rice vinegar)
  • 3 tbsp  (45 mL)  peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 cups  (750 mL)  thinly sliced onions
  • 1 tbsp  (15 mL)  minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 to 10 green hot peppers, chopped in 1/2-inch/1 cm pieces
  • 2 tsp  (10 mL)  chili powder (Indian or other)
  • 1-1/2 tsp  (7 mL)  ground coriander
  • 1 tsp  (5 mL)  cumin
  • 1/2 tsp  (2 mL)  five-spice powder
  • 3 green onions, cut in 1/2-inch/1 cm pieces
  • 1 cup  (250 mL)  chopped fresh coriander


Cut chicken into 1-1/2-inch/4 cm chunks; toss with salt and white pepper.

In separate bowl, whisk together stock, soy sauce, ketchup, cornstarch, sugar and vinegar until sugar is dissolved.

In wok, heat oil over medium-high heat; fry onions, stirring often, until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; stir for 30 seconds.

Increase heat a little; add chicken. Stir-fry until golden at edges. Stir in hot peppers, chili powder, ground coriander, cumin and five-spice powder; cook until hot peppers soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in green onions.

Increase heat to high; stir in stock mixture. Cook until sauce coats chicken. Stir in fresh coriander.

Makes 4 servings.

If dealing with a food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity or special dietary needs for a medical condition, always check the label of processed foods (including spices and condiments) to ensure that they’re free of potentially harmful ingredients. If you have any doubt about a product’s ingredients, contact the manufacturer.