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Szechuan Chicken And Hunan Chicken: Are They Different?

Szechuan chicken and Hunan chicken are well known for being delicious as well as easy to cook which makes them a popular choice for lunch or dinner.

When you see both dishes served out in front of you, it may seem almost impossible to tell them apart from one another. 

However, there are some differences between these two dishes that can easily set them apart once you learn a bit more about how they are made, what they taste like, and more.

Szechuan Chicken And Hunan Chicken: Are They Different?

What Is Szechuan Chicken?

Szechuan chicken, a meal that originated in Sichuan Province and is well-known for its robust and spicy taste that comes through with the use of Sichuan peppercorn, is a popular chicken dish.

This Chinese dish has a taste that is fairly strong and smells citrus-like.

Due to the fact that it has a lot of taste and is both spicy and sweet, it is renowned for having the ability to numb and tingle the mouth.

Although there is no doubanjiang in this recipe, the components are really pretty comparable to those that are used to make Hunan chicken.

Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, minced garlic, carrot strips, eggs, dry sherry, cornstarch, crushed red chilies, green onions, cayenne pepper, and soy sauce are just a few of the components you may find in Szechuan chicken.

This meal is popular because it is simple to make and cook, and it can be served with either steamed rice or noodles.

How Is Szechuan Chicken Made?

The province of Sichuan in southwest China is where this dish’s origins are located. The cuisine from that region of China is well-known for being flavorful and frequently containing chili peppers, peppercorns, bell peppers, and garlic.

Szechuan Chicken is fantastic because it has the ideal balance of sweetness and heat. It has a lemony, salty taste and is renowned for stimulating the lips.

Its key components also include maize, green onions, sugar, and dried red chili peppers.

Additionally, it frequently contains sesame paste as well as ginger and cured seasonings. The flavor and aroma of szechuan chicken are highly distinctive, and it is a perfect choice for a hearty lunch menu item or a full evening menu.

The red chilies and peppercorns are the key ingredients in Szechuan chicken. It has a dry, spicy, and powerful flavor because of the chili paste. When making the dish, you can also use cooking wine, sherry, or rice wine.

You must acquire the things on your list and combine them with the chicken to make the dinner. Combine everything and let the chicken a few minutes to marinade.

The chicken should then be cut into cubes, battered, and pan-fried for a few minutes.

Use eggs, cornstarch, or all-purpose flour in the batter. Then stir-fry the chicken with any extra spices or sauce if necessary, and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.

Finally, add rice to the chicken for a dinner that is even more satisfying.

What Is Hunan Chicken?

Hunan chicken is a chicken-based meal that derives from Xiang cuisine, a group of culinary traditions that have its roots in the Hunan Province region along the Xiang River.

Nevertheless, a lot of Chinese provinces assert that Hunan chicken originated in other places; however, they all include mala, a fiery spice that is well-known in China.

It is a meal that is very fatty and juicy and is said to be a staple throughout the winter.

In addition to the chicken, which is obvious from the title, you can also anticipate finding shredded ginger, chili peppers, chicken broth, scallions, cornstarch, soy sauce, sherry, wine vinegar, salt, sugar, and powdered anise pepper in this dish.

Hunan chicken is a meal that has a fiery touch to it yet is noted for its straightforward flavor. The inclusion of either doubanjiang or chilli paste often gives this meal its dry and spicy taste.

This dish has a great flavor when served with steamed rice, despite the fact that it can occasionally make the tongue numb.

Chinese natives frequently sprinkle this meal with the hot oil that is produced when the meat is cooked with a variety of seasonings.

How Is Hunan Chicken Made?

Due to the area of origin, Hunan Chicken is also known as “Xiang” chicken. This dish has its roots in the Western Hunan province of China, close to the Xiang River area.

Doubanjiang, or chili peppers, are liberally used in this specific Chinese dish to give it its well-known delicious, spicy taste.

Soy sauce, garlic, ginger, shallots, rice wine, sugar, and a variety of light vegetables including baby corn, mushrooms, and carrots are all among its primary components.

The use of different veggies is what frequently sets this dish apart from Szechuan Chicken. In order to give Hunan Chicken a more salty, earthy, and acidic flavor, you’ll also discover that it’s frequently prepared using cured or smoked meat.

You must chop your chicken into tiny slices or strips and marinate them in your preferred sauce before making Hunan Chicken (soy sauce, sherry, etc.).

After that, include other ingredients, such as cornstarch, chicken broth, scallions, sugar, and chili peppers.

Allow the chicken to marinade for 15 to 20 minutes, then stir-fry it in a pan until it’s cooked through. After that, serve the chicken over brown or white rice for a delectable supper.

To create something similar to fried rice, you may alternatively serve it with noodles and top it with a cooked scrambled egg.

How Are Szechuan Chicken And Hunan Chicken Different?

How Are Szechuan Chicken And Hunan Chicken Different

These two dishes mostly differ in what they use as ingredients. Contrary to popular belief, pork is favoured in Hunan cuisine, along with fresh chili peppers and crisp veggies.

On the other hand, beef is frequently favored with pork coming next in Szechuan cuisine, which employs Szechuan pepper as its primary component.

The geographical origins of these two culinary philosophies are another distinction between them. The Xiang River, Dongting Lake, and the western Hunan region of China are the sources of Hunan cuisine, as the name would imply.

The Sichuan or Szechuan province in China’s southwest is where Szechuan cuisine originates.

The differences between these two recipes are broken down below.


The crimson color of Szechuan Chicken is due to the chili powder or bean paste that is used to prepare it. The lack of sauce makes it more on the dry side, but the chicken should still be moist and delicious.

Brown gravy usually covers Hunan chicken, which resembles a combination of meat and vegetables in appearance.


The origin of Szechuan chicken is a region renowned for its intense tastes, particularly pungency and spice.

This is the consequence of the generous servings of chile, garlic, and Sichuan peppercorn, which also contains a spice that tastes like citrus and has a distinct scent.

It also gives you a tingle desensitizing tongue feeling after eating the dish. It’s accurate to say that Szechuan chicken is a scorching-hot meal with a strong onion-garlic taste.

Alternating from this, Hunan chicken calls for the use of ground chilis, making sure the seeds are pulverized, as well as a generous amount of dried chili pepper, shallots, and garlic.

It suggests that the degree of heat in the food is the main taste. Another spice, known to the Chinese as “mala,” is responsible for the tingling, numbing feeling on your tongue that is also frequently present in Szechuan chicken.


The degree of spice and other seasonings are what distinguish Szechuan chicken from Hunan chicken.

Szechuan chicken has a powerful and less spicy flavor; it is typically coupled just with peppers. Hunan chicken tends to be a little hotter and tangier and is typically blended with veggies.

Both of these meals may be hot, but various ingredients are used to produce their distinct flavor characteristics. For instance, dried red chili peppers and peppercorns are frequently used in Szechuan chicken dishes.

This explains why taking it sometimes results in a little “mouth numbness” and tingling on the tongue.

The hot but delicate flavor of Hunan Chicken, comes from a spicy chili bean powder or paste (also known as “doubanjiang”).


Hunan Chicken is frequently served with a variety of toppings, or at the absolute least, broccoli. For instance, your dish may include veggies like maize, zucchini, mushrooms, bell pepper, carrots, and green onions.

It is simply adaptable to your tastes for vegetables. In general, Szechuan Chicken is simply served with peppers, sesame seeds, and occasionally bell peppers, but don’t be shocked if you see the chicken on its own.


Hunan chicken can be prepared in a variety of ways, such as stewing, smoking, pot cooking, and frying. In this instance, the chicken is deep-fried after being marinated for a lengthy time, if feasible overnight.

As you prepare your meal in the meantime, cook the marinades and other ingredients separately before assembling them.

Stir-frying, steaming, and braising methods are favoured for Szechuan cuisine. In this instance, the chicken is marinated for a short while before cooking.

In contrast to the previous recipe, where the chicken was cooked separately from the marinades, the chicken in this recipe is cooked along with the marinades and other ingredients.

Cooking Method

Typically, the chicken in Szechuan recipes is chopped into cubes, dipped in a batter made of flour, and pan-fried. Red chili peppers, red chilis, peppercorns, and other seasonings are mixed in and sautéed while the chicken is still cooking.

When making Hunan Chicken, the actual chicken is frequently cut into thinner strips, marinated, and then stir-fried with vegetables in hot oil.


Szechuan chicken often has higher calories overall owing to the way it is cooked. The chicken is stir-fried after being deep-fried initially. It is also covered in batter (either flour or egg), which raises the amount of calories in it.

It is prepared with much more oil, adding an additional 36 calories per 100 grams. Hunan chicken, on the other hand, is a little bit healthier since each 100-gram dish only has around 100 calories.

Both include the necessary spices for a dish to be healthy, but Hunan is a better option because it has more vegetables.

Plant-based protein found in the fermented chili bean paste has been shown to decrease blood pressure and prevent osteoporosis. The peppercorns, meanwhile, promote digestion and increase nutritional absorption.


These foods are similar to one another, making it difficult to distinguish between them, especially when tasting them for the first time. The fact that they are both really fantastic dinners is a given.

The differences between the two chicken dishes may be tasted. Szechuan chicken is less spicy than Hunan chicken because it utilizes fresh chilies.

Hunan chicken, which is stir-fried rather than deep-fried, contains fewer calories than any of the other two options, making it the healthier choice.

Jess Smith