10 Differences Between Szechuan and Hunan Chicken in 2024

Filed in Articles by on May 18, 2021

Difference Between Szechuan and Hunan Chicken: For most places around the world, specific foods are seen as a symbol of their heritage and the Chinese are no exception. Szechuan and Hunan Chicken are two famous Chinese dishes that represent the style and culture of the Chinese people.

The most distinctive difference between both foods is that Hunan chicken is spicier as compared to the Szechuan chicken. Furthermore, they differ in composition, consistency, and spiciness, distinctive of the Chinese regions that they originated from.

About Szechuan and Hunan Chicken

Szechuan cuisine is a style of Chinese cooking originating in the Sichuan Province of southwestern China, a region famous for bold flavors, particularly the pungency and spiciness resulting from generous servings of garlic and chili peppers.

It also has a unique flavor of the Sichuan peppercorn, an intensely fragrant, citrus-like spice that produces a “tingly-numbing” sensation in the mouth. Peanuts, sesame paste, and ginger are among the most distinctive ingredients. Add to that the dynamic taste brought about by pickling, drying, and salting methods.

Szechuan Chicken is a member of this category. Its sauce is a chili-garlic paste made with whole or ground chili. The dish is then cooked by frying the battered chicken, pan-frying the vegetables, and mixing the sauce, stir-frying everything for a minute or two.

Szechuan chicken is best served with steamed rice. The dish is very easy to cook. Taste-wise, it renders a good mix of sweet and spicy.

Conversely, Hunan cuisine originated in the Xiang River region, Dongting Lake, and Western Hunan Province. Even though it is subdivided based on the abovementioned regions, it is identified by its ‘mala’ – a hot and tongue-numbing seasoning.

Much like Szechuan cuisine, it employs liberal amounts of chili peppers, garlic, and in addition, shallots. However, compared to Szechuan, Xiang is more prominent for being dry, purely hot, and – most of the time – oilier. It is said that Hunan cuisine tends to be purer and simpler in taste than Szechuan cuisine.

It is generally comprised of a wide range of fresh ingredients combined with smoked and cured meats. What makes it unique is the fact that its menu changes depending on the season; local ingredients are utilized to complement the season. Cold meats with chilies help locals keep cool in the summer, while hot and spicy pots are ideal for staying warm during winter.

Recipes for Hunan chicken include bite-sized chicken meat, light soy sauce, sherry, shredded ginger, chili peppers, scallions, chicken broth, wine vinegar, sugar, salt, powdered anise pepper, and cornstarch. First, the chicken is marinated in soy sauce, sherry, and ginger mixture for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, the rest of the liquid ingredients are mixed separately. The vegetables are then stir-fried for a couple of minutes. Afterward, everything is mixed together and cooked on low heat until the chicken is tender. This dish is best paired with rice. Hunan chicken tends to be spicier, yet plainer in taste.

Notable Distinctions Between Szechuan and Hunan Chicken

1. The Szechuan is the Chinese dish that originated from the Sichuan province (China), whereas Hunan is the Chinese dish that originated from the Western Hunan, which is the province of China.

2. The Hunan chicken is spicier as compared to the Szechuan chicken as fresh peppers are used in Hunan, which raises the chill content of it.

3. The cooking techniques like stewing, smoking pot-roasting and frying are used for the preparation of the Hunan Chicken. Contrary to this, in Szechuan, cooking techniques like steaming, braising, and stir-frying are used

4. The cured and smoked ingredients are used in the preparation of the Hunan chicken, whereas the ingredients used in Szechuan chicken are preserved using the drying, pickling or salting.

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CSN Team.

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