Chicken and Broccoli (Chinese Takeout Style)

An easy chicken and broccoli stir fry recipe that yields juicy chicken and crisp broccoli in a rich brown sauce, just like the one at a Chinese restaurant. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}

Homemade chicken and broccoli in a skillet

Chicken and broccoli should be on your weekday dinner rotation menu, because it’s so easy to prepare and the result tastes even better than takeout. If you rarely cook Chinese stir fries at home, this is a great dish to start with. It only requires one protein, one vegetable, and one sauce. The cooking doesn’t require a wok and the process is very simple. Start your steamed rice while preparing this dish and your dinner will be ready in 30 minutes.

Stir fried chicken with broccoli served on steamed rice

Cooking notes

1. What cookware to use

I’ve discussed why not to use a wok and how to set up your stir fry station in the past in great detail.

Before moving to the US, I always cooked with a small cast iron wok and gas stove in my Chinese kitchen. I switched to a heavy nonstick skillet when I moved to Austin, because it heated up faster and held heat better on the electric stove. Now that I finally have a gas stove again in my New York kitchen, the flame is so weak that sometimes I have trouble boiling water. Now I use both nonstick and carbon steel pans depending on the dishes I make.

If you just started cooking Chinese food, or if you have a similar kitchen situation to mine (electric stove, IH stove, or not-so-powerful gas stove), cooking with a nonstick skillet or carbon steel skillet will be the best option. It’s easier to learn to use, heats up better, and creates great results.

Stir fried chicken with broccoli

2. Key ingredients

Aromatics – It’s very important to use fresh ginger and garlic to create the authentic Chinese food experience. Sometimes I add a handful of chopped green onion to further add fragrance to the dish.

Oyster sauce – In my world it’s a sauce that is quite close to hoisin sauce, only it tastes much better. It adds a rich, savory umami (from oyster extract) and a slightly sweet note to the stir fry sauce.

Shaoxing wine – Used in most Chinese stir fry dishes, including vegetables. It adds a deep fermented savory taste. If you do not want alcohol in your dish, you can use chicken broth to replace it. The flavor of the sauce will fall flat a bit, but you will still get a great result.

Dark soy sauce – It has a darker color and tastes less salty than soy sauce. It’s commonly used in Chinese stir fries to add a beautiful caramelized color to the meat. You can replace it with soy sauce if you don’t have any on hand. Your dish will come out lighter than mine, but still taste great.

3. Easy prep

Getting your working station organized is key to making good stir fries. Different from many Western style cooking techniques, the Chinese stir fry process happens very quickly. Once you heat up the pan, it usually takes less than 5 minutes to cook a dish. Be sure to cut all the ingredients, make the sauce, and have all the ingredients ready near your stove.

When I prepare my stir fry, I like to go one step further and group the ingredients according to the cooking steps, so I can use fewer prep bowls. It makes your working station less crowded, prevents you from forgetting to add ingredients during cooking, and makes clean-up faster.

In the case of the chicken and broccoli stir fry, you should have 5 items near your stove:

  • Mixed sauce
  • Marinated chicken
  • Chopped broccoli
  • Chopped ginger and garlic
  • Cooking oil (not shown in the picture)

Ingredients to making chicken and broccoli

4. Cooking process

Making chicken and broccoli is super easy. All you need to do is:

  • Steam the broccoli in the stir fry pan using a bit of water. I do this instead of blanching the broccoli in a separate pot. It cooks faster this way and you only use one pan in total.
  • Heat up your pan very hot. Sear both sides of the chicken. It helps to brown the chicken better if you spread it in the pan in a single layer and don’t touch it until the bottom is browned.
  • Add the aromatics.
  • Add the cooked broccoli and the sauce, then cook until sauce is thickened.

That’s it!

Chicken and broccoli cooking step-by-step

5. One word on oil

The amount of oil you need largely depends on the type of pan you’re using. If you use a nonstick pan, you can cut the oil to 1 tablespoon without any problem. If you use a carbon steel or cast iron pan, you might need to use more oil, so the bottom of the pan is covered completely with a thin layer of oil to prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan.

Stir fried chicken with broccoli close-up

More delicious take-out style recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Chicken and Broccoli (Chinese Takeout Style) | An easy chicken and broccoli stir fry recipe that yields juicy chicken and crisp broccoli in a rich brown sauce, just like the one from a Chinese restaurant. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}

Chicken and Broccoli (Chinese Takeout Style)

An easy chicken and broccoli stir fry recipe that yields juicy chicken and crisp broccoli in a rich brown sauce, just like the one at a Chinese restaurant. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}
To make this dish gluten free, use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine. Use tamari or coconut amino to replace dark soy sauce. And make sure you pick a gluten-free oyster sauce such as this one.
4.75 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 246kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (450 g) boneless skinless chicken breast (or thigh)

Meat and Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Sauce

Stir-fry

  • 1 head broccoli , chopped into bite-sized florets
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger , minced

Instructions

  • Slice the chicken against the grain into thin bite-size pieces, no thicker than 1/4” (1/2 cm).
  • Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Stir to mix well.
  • Bring 1/3 cup of water to a boil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli and cover. Steam until the broccoli just turns tender and the water evaporates, about 40 to 50 seconds. Transfer the broccoli to a plate. Wipe the pan with a paper towel held in a pair of tongs if there’s any water left.
  • Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Spread the chicken in the skillet in a single layer. Allow to cook without touching for 30 seconds, or until the bottom side is browned. Flip to cook the other side for a few seconds. Stir and cook until the surface is lightly charred and the inside is still pink.
  • Add the garlic and ginger. Stir a few times to release the flavor and fragrance.
  • Return the broccoli to the pan. Stir the sauce again to dissolve the cornstarch completely and pour it into the skillet. Cook and stir until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Transfer everything to a plate immediately.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice or boiled noodles as a main dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 9.8g | Saturated Fat: 1.2g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 634mg | Potassium: 512mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 3.5g | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg
Chicken and Broccoli (Chinese Takeout Style) | An easy chicken and broccoli stir fry recipe that yields juicy chicken and crisp broccoli in a rich brown sauce, just like the one from a Chinese restaurant. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}

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4 thoughts on “Chicken and Broccoli (Chinese Takeout Style)

  1. Ken Lam

    4 stars
    Love chicken and broccoli with either brown or light sauce. You should look into a simple induction burner. Far superior to low BTU gas burners. With a good carbon steel pan/wok, you get instant heat. Even a cheap $50 burner really gives you value.

    Reply