You’ve probably seen Szechuan Chicken and Hunan Chicken on the menus of your favorite Chinese eateries. Although both meals are noted for their rich and flavorful ingredients, there are significant differences between the two.
Both are often served with steamed white or brown rice and are ideal for an afternoon snack or a filling evening meal. The two meals, however, vary greatly in terms of consistency, ingredients, and taste profile.
They are also from two separate parts of China. In order for you to better comprehend their primary distinctions, we’ve chosen to compare and discuss them in this post.
Thus, if you’re trying to decide whether to order (or make) Hunan or Szechuan Chicken, you’ve come to the correct spot.
- Difference Between Szechuan and Hunan Chicken
- Szechuan vs Hunan Chicken Comparison Table
- Can You Substitute Szechuan for Hunan Chicken?
- What Is Szechuan Chicken?
- What is Hunan Chicken?
- Which is better Hunan chicken or Szechuan chicken?
- Which is sweeter Hunan or Szechuan?
- What is the difference between Hunan and Sichuan cuisine?
- What does Szechuan chicken taste like?
- Which is hotter Szechuan or Hunan?
- Which is better General Tso or Szechuan chicken?
- Which is hotter Szechuan or General Tso?
- Which is hotter kung pao or Szechuan?
- Is Szechuan food very spicy?
- What is the best spicy Chinese dish?
Difference Between Szechuan and Hunan Chicken
The biggest distinction between Szechuan Chicken and Hunan Chicken is the amount of spiciness and the added seasonings.
Hunan Chicken has a hotter and tangier taste and is often coupled with veggies, whilst Szechuan Chicken has a robust and less spicy flavor and is typically combined with peppers.
These are the key differences between the two dishes.
Spiciness: Although each of these recipes have the potential to be spicy, their taste profiles are formed by distinct components. Szechuan Chicken, for example, is often prepared with dried red chili peppers and peppercorns.
This explains why it is often recognized to produce mouth numbness and tongue tingling when ingested.
Hunan Chicken, on the other hand, receives its spice from hot chili bean powder or paste (the paste is also known as doubanjiang).
Hunan Chicken is often served with a mix of ingredients or, at the absolute least, broccoli. For instance, your cuisine might include veggies such as bell pepper, carrots, green onion, mushrooms, maize, and zucchini.
It’s simply adaptable to your veggie choices. Szechuan Chicken is generally served with peppers, sesame seeds, and in some instances bell peppers, but don’t be shocked if you see it served on its own.
Preparation: In Szechuan cuisines, the chicken is frequently chopped into cubes and pan-fried in a flour-based batter. The red chili peppers, peppercorns, red chilis, and other seasonings are sautéed while the chicken is still cooking.
The chicken in Hunan Chicken is often chopped into thinner strips, marinated, then stir-fried in hot oil with vegetables.
Caloric Content: Because of its cooking style, Szechuan Chicken often contains higher calories. The chicken is deep-fried first, then stir-fried. It is also coated with batter (egg or flour), which increases the calorie content.
It is prepared with much more oil, which adds roughly 36 calories per 100 gram portion. Hunan chicken, on the other hand, is somewhat healthier, with just around 100 calories per 100-gram portion.
Hunan Chicken is often served with a light sauce that covers the veggies and chicken. Szechuan chicken, on the other hand, has a drier texture and no sauce or gravy.
Nevertheless, some restaurants add a tiny bit of gravy in their Szechuan version, which is generally obtained from the chicken broth.
Szechuan Chicken is distinguished by its crimson tint, which may be attributable to the chili bean paste or powder used to prepare it. Since there is no sauce, it is a little dry, but the chicken should be moist and tender.
Hunan chicken is often smothered in brown sauce and resembles a meat and vegetable mixture.
Szechuan vs Hunan Chicken Comparison Table
|Szechuan Chicken||Hunan Chicken|
|Spiciness||Robust but plain, with a tingly spice level that dances on your tongue.||A spicy and tangy flavor profile, but less of a tingling sensation|
|Additional ingredients||Made with Doubanjiang, peppercorn, sugar, and wine or sherry.||Has dried chilis and garlic for flavor. Typically served with veggies such as bell pepper, carrots, green onion, mushrooms, corn, and zucchini.|
|Cooking techniques||Meat is cut into cubes, battered, deep-fried then pan-fried.||Meat is thinly sliced. Often marinated in oyster sauce and wine. Stir-fried with sauce and veggies.|
|Caloric Content||Has about 150 calories per 100 grams of serving.||Has about 100 calories per 100 grams of serving.|
|Dish sauce||Is typically served dry with no gravy.||Covered in a light brown gravy.|
|Appearance||Cubed chicken with a reddish tint and crispy crust.||Thinly-cut, crustless chicken mixed with various vegetables.|
Can You Substitute Szechuan for Hunan Chicken?
Szechuan Chicken and Hunan Chicken may be used interchangeably.
Yet, it would need a substantial variation in their preparation as well as a big difference in the contents. If you want to make Hunan Chicken into Szechuan Chicken, start by chopping the chicken into cubes rather than slices.
The chicken should then be battered and deep-fried before being tossed into a skillet for stir-frying. You should also add the chilis and peppercorns to the sauce to give it a distinct taste.
To transform Szechuan Chicken into Hunan Chicken, add oyster sauce, chicken broth, and other seasonings to marinade the chicken ahead of time.
You’ll also need to choose which vegetables to use and cut them up to add to the chicken. What you’ll wind up with is more likely a blend of the two recipes than a complete substitution, but it’ll still be excellent.
Don’t be hesitant to combine elements from other dishes depending on how spicy you like it, how many veggies you want, and if you want your final meal to be saucier or drier.
What Is Szechuan Chicken?
Szechuan chicken is a popular Chinese dish recognized for its spicy, fragrant, and robust flavor. The way it tingles the tongue is commonly used to identify it.
How to use Szechuan Chicken
This dish originated in the region of Sichuan in southern China. The region of China is noted for offering foods with delicious fragrances that often contain chili peppers, peppercorn, bell peppers, and garlic.
The best part about Szechuan Chicken is the right balance of sweetness and spice. It has a lemony, salty flavor and is notorious for generating a mouth-tingling feeling.
Dried red chili peppers, maize, green onion, and sugar are among the key components.
It may also include cured foods, ginger, and, in some circumstances, sesame paste. Szechuan Chicken has an unique aroma and flavor and works well as a satisfying lunch menu item or as a complete supper dish.
The red chilies and peppercorns are the most prominent flavors of Szechuan chicken. The chili paste gives it a dry, spicy, and powerful flavor. While making the dish, you may also use cooking wine, sherry, or rice wine.
To create the recipe, assemble your ingredients and combine them with the chicken. Let the chicken to marinade for a few minutes after mixing everything together. After that, cut the chicken into cubes, coat them, and pan-fry them for a few minutes.
You may make the batter using eggs, cornstarch, or all-purpose flour. Following that, stir fried the chicken with any extra seasonings or sauce (if used) and garnish with sesame seeds.
Finally, for an even more satisfying meal, mix the chicken with rice.
What is Hunan Chicken?
Hunan Chicken is another Chinese spice meal that uses Doubanjiang (a spicy bean sauce) to give it a hot and flavorful taste.
It’s a saucier meal than Szechuan Chicken, so it might seem richer and thicker.
How To Use Hunan Chicken
Hunan chicken is also known as Xiang chicken owing to its origins in China. This dish originated around the Xiang River area, which is situated in the Chinese territory of Western Hunan.
This Chinese dish has a generous number of chili peppers (or Doubanjiang), which give it its famous mouth-watering (and somewhat numbing) taste characteristic.
Soy sauce, garlic, shallots, ginger, rice wine, sugar, and different light vegetables such as baby corn, mushrooms, and carrots are also key components.
The use of numerous veggies separates this dish from Szechuan Chicken. Hunan Chicken is also sometimes prepared with cured or smoked meat to create a more salty, earthy, and acidic taste.
To make Hunan Chicken, chop your chicken into small slices or strips and marinate it in your preferred sauce (soy sauce, sherry, etc.). After that, stir in the chili peppers, chicken broth, scallions, sugar, and cornstarch.
Let the chicken to marinade for 15 to 20 minutes before stir-frying it in a pan until cooked. Following that, serve the chicken over white or brown rice for a filling supper.
You can also serve it with noodles and a cooked scrambled egg to make it more like fried rice.