Szechuan Chicken with Garlic & Broccoli

A super simple poaching technique called "velveting" is the secret behind perfectly juicy chicken in this tasty dish. Try it out for a fast, hearty, healthy weeknight meal that tastes better than takeout, and takes less time than calling for delivery. 

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 Servings


  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 egg white, whisked
  • 2 TB Chinese rice wine or sherry wine
  • 3 TB, plus 2 tsp cornstarch (separated)
  • 1 lb thin cut chicken cutlets, thinly sliced against the grain
  • 3 TB low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 TB ketchup
  • 4 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp sambaloelek (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 1 TB minced ginger
  • 1 lb broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces (~ 5 cups)
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions


Whisk together salt, egg white, rice wine and 3 TB cornstarch. Add chicken and toss to coat.  Marinate 30 minutes or overnight. 

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, remaining 2 tsp corn starch, ketchup, brown sugar, and sambaloelek and reserve. 

When ready to cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil, remove chicken from marinade and add to water. Cook for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Drain well and reserve.

Heat sesame oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add broccoli and toss to coat. Pour chicken broth over broccoli, raise heat, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Stir in chicken and reserved sauce and simmer for 3 minutes or until thick. Garnish with scallions and serve.


To make slicing the chicken breasts easier, look for thin-cut cutlets and/or freeze them before slicing.