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Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

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Chinese Chicken and Broccoli


Chinese Chicken and Broccoli is a beloved dish that combines tender chicken pieces with crisp, vibrant broccoli in a savory sauce. Known for its simplicity and rich flavors, it’s a staple in many Chinese households and a favorite in Chinese-American cuisine. But what makes this dish so popular?

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History of Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

Origins of the Dish

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli traces its roots back to traditional Chinese cooking, where the harmony of flavors and textures is paramount. The dish likely originated from the southern regions of China, where fresh vegetables and lean meats are commonly used.

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Evolution Over Time

Over time, the recipe has evolved, especially as it became popular in Western countries. The addition of soy sauce, ginger, and garlic in modern versions of the dish brings a robust flavor that appeals to a global palate.

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Nutritional Benefits

Health Benefits of Chicken

Chicken is a lean source of protein, essential for muscle growth and repair. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals like B6, B12, and zinc, which support various bodily functions.

Health Benefits of Broccoli

Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s packed with vitamins C and K, fiber, and antioxidants that promote heart health and reduce inflammation. Plus, it’s low in calories, making it an excellent addition to any diet.

Choosing the Right Chicken

Best Cuts of Chicken to Use

For this dish, chicken breast or thighs are ideal. Chicken breast is leaner, while thighs offer a juicier, more flavorful option. Both work well, so it depends on your preference.

Tips for Preparing the Chicken

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces for even cooking. It’s important to trim any excess fat and pat the chicken dry before marinating to ensure the flavors are fully absorbed.

Preparing the Broccoli

How to Select Fresh Broccoli

Choose broccoli that is firm and green, with no yellowing or wilting. Fresh broccoli will have tightly packed florets and crisp stems.

Methods for Prepping Broccoli

Rinse the broccoli under cold water, then cut it into uniform florets. This ensures even cooking and a pleasing presentation.

Marinating the Chicken

Importance of Marination

Marinating the chicken infuses it with flavor and helps tenderize the meat. A good marinade can make the difference between a bland dish and a mouthwatering one.

Best Marinade Recipes

A simple marinade of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and a touch of honey works wonders. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight for a deeper flavor.

Cooking Techniques

Stir-Frying Method

Stir-frying is the most common method for this dish. It involves cooking the chicken and broccoli quickly over high heat, which helps retain their texture and nutrients.

Steaming Method

For a lighter version, you can steam the broccoli before adding it to the stir-fried chicken. This method preserves the broccoli’s vibrant color and crunch.

Step-by-Step Recipe

Detailed Cooking Instructions

  1. Marinate the Chicken: In a bowl, combine soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and honey. Add the chicken and mix well. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Prep the Broccoli: Cut the broccoli into florets and rinse thoroughly.
  3. Cook the Chicken: Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the marinated chicken and cook until it’s browned and cooked through.
  4. Add the Broccoli: Toss in the broccoli and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until tender-crisp.
  5. Combine and Serve: Mix everything well, ensuring the chicken and broccoli are evenly coated with the sauce. Serve hot with steamed rice or noodles.

Tips for Perfect Results

  • Don’t overcrowd the pan; cook in batches if necessary.
  • Keep the heat high to ensure a quick and even cook.
  • Add a splash of water if the broccoli starts to dry out.

Serving Suggestions

Ideal Side Dishes

  • Steamed jasmine rice
  • Fried rice
  • Lo mein noodles

Presentation Tips

Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions for a restaurant-quality presentation. A drizzle of sesame oil can also enhance the flavor.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Overcooking Chicken

Overcooked chicken can be dry and tough. Keep an eye on the cooking time and remove the chicken from heat as soon as it’s done.

Undercooking Broccoli

Broccoli should be tender-crisp, not mushy. Stir-fry it just until it turns bright green and retains a slight crunch.

Variations of the Dish

Spicy Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

Add red pepper flakes or a dash of Sriracha for a spicy kick. You can also incorporate chili oil into the marinade for a deeper heat.

Vegetarian Version

Replace chicken with tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian alternative. Ensure you press the tofu to remove excess moisture before marinating.

Pairing with Sauces

Best Sauces to Complement the Dish

  • Oyster sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Teriyaki sauce

Homemade Sauce Recipes

A quick homemade sauce can be made by combining soy sauce, oyster sauce, a bit of sugar, and cornstarch. Simmer until thickened and pour over the dish.

Cultural Significance

Role in Chinese Cuisine

Chicken and broccoli exemplifies the balance of flavors and textures that Chinese cuisine is known for. It highlights the importance of fresh ingredients and quick cooking methods.

Popularity in Western Countries

This dish has become a staple in Chinese-American cuisine, loved for its simplicity and taste. It’s a go-to for takeout and homemade meals alike.


Chinese Chicken and Broccoli is more than just a dish; it’s a celebration of flavors and nutrition. Whether you’re making it for a quick weeknight dinner or a special occasion, it’s sure to impress. So why not give it a try and bring a taste of Chinese cuisine to your kitchen?


Can I use frozen broccoli?

Yes, you can use frozen broccoli, but be sure to thaw it completely and pat it dry before cooking to avoid excess moisture in the dish.

What’s the best way to store leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in a pan or microwave.

Can I make it gluten-free?

Absolutely! Use tamari or gluten-free soy sauce instead of regular soy sauce.

How do I make it more flavorful?

Add more garlic and ginger, and don’t skimp on the marinating time. You can also incorporate a splash of rice wine or vinegar.

Is it suitable for meal prep?

Yes, Chinese Chicken and Broccoli is excellent for meal prep. Prepare it in advance and divide it into portions for easy weekday meals.

Yield: 4

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli is a beloved dish that combines tender chicken pieces with crisp, vibrant broccoli in a savory sauce. Known for its simplicity and rich flavors, it's a staple in many Chinese households and a favorite in Chinese-American cuisine. But what makes this dish so popular?

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes


  • For marinating the chicken:
  • 20 ounces skinless boneless chicken breast cut into ¼ inch slices (about 2 chicken breast)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt (if using fine salt, use a little less)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon oil any neutral oil is fine
  • For the stir fry sauce:
  • ⅔ cup soy sauce light sodium
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • For the rest of the dish:
  • 1 pound broccoli cut into florets (about 1 crown)
  • 1½ tablespoons garlic minced (about 4 cloves)
  • 1½ tablespoons ginger minced (about an 1½ inch knob)


    Marinate the chicken:

  • In a mixing bowl, first combine the sliced chicken breast, water, shaoxing rice wine, salt and baking soda. Mix well until the chicken has absorbed most of the liquids.
  • Next add the cornstarch and mix until the chicken pieces are well coated. Finish the marinade by adding the oil. Mix until evenly combined. Set the chicken aside to marinate for about 10 to 15 minutes as you prepare the rest of the ingredients or let the chicken marinate overnight.

Prepare the sauce:

  • In a bowl or large measuring cup, combine all of the ingredients for the sauce (soy sauce, water, sugar, cornstarch, and sesame oil). Whisk well until no more clumps of cornstarch is visible. Set aside until needed.*If you prefer a thicker sauce, use 1 to 2 teaspoons extra cornstarch.*

Make the chicken and broccoli:

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the broccoli florets. Cook the broccoli for about 30 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on your preferred tenderness. The cook time will also depend on how big the broccoli florets are. Once cooked, drain the broccoli and set aside.*We usually boil our broccoli for about 1 minute because we like it more on the crisp side.*
  • In a wok or sauté pan over medium high heat, add enough oil to generously coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot, add the marinated chicken and cook on both sides until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the wok/pan and set aside.*The chicken doesn't need to have color, but if you prefer, you can sear the chicken until golden brown. Do make sure to separate the chicken so that it gets evenly cooked, and cook in small batches if necessary.*
  • Reduce the heat to medium and keep about 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan. Drain excess oil if necessary. Add the minced garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Give the prepared stir fry sauce a good stir and pour it into the pan with the garlic and ginger. Let the sauce heat up until it starts to simmer and the sauce looks thickened and glossy. Make sure to stir frequently to prevent the sauce from scorching on the bottom.
  • Once the sauce looks thick and glossy throughout, reduce the heat to low and add the chicken and the broccoli florets. Toss until everything is well coated with sauce.
  • Serve with rice and enjoy while hot!


  • Freeze the chicken for easier cutting.  Having the chicken breast semi frozen will make slicing easier. But make sure to have the chicken full defrosted and drained before you start marinating!
  • Nutrition Information:

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 357
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