Non-vegetarian cuisine has a wide variety of food items, and has gained popularity over the years across the globe mainly because of three reasons, first of which is that its rich in proteins, inexpensive and has different recipes and styles to prepare in, even one food item such as chicken, has several recipes let alone, for example, grilled chicken, spicy chicken, butter chicken, etc.
Szechuan and Hunan chicken, are such two recipes of one food item i.e. chicken. Chicken. Chicken has several health benefits attached to it such as it is rich in proteins, good for the heart, helps to boost metabolism, natural antidepressant, rich in selenium, phosphorous, and niacin, it also promotes eye health, body tissues, and helps to prevent bone loss.
Hunan vs Szechuan Chicken
The difference between Hunan Chicken and Szechuan Chicken is that Hunan chicken is plain, and spicier as compared to Szechuan chicken and is originated from South-western China, whereas, Szechuan chicken has sweet, as well as a spicy flavor and is originated from Western Hunan province of China.
Comparison Table Between Hunan and Szechuan Chicken (in Tabular Form)
|Parameter of Comparison||Hunan Chicken||Szechuan Chicken|
|First-step||Hunan Chicken is the type of chicken dish, where the chicken is marinated first.||Whereas, Szechuan Chicken is a type of chicken dish where the chicken is battered with the chilly-pepper, and garlic sauce first.|
|Place of origination||Hunan cuisine originated from the Sichuan Province of South-Western China.||Whereas, Szechuan cuisine originated in the Xiang River region, Dongting Lake, Western Hunan Province of China,|
|Flavor||Hunan Chicken has more oil, and is spicier as compared to Szechuan chicken.||Whereas, on the other hand, Szechuan chicken is a sweet, and spicy dish, having strong flavors.|
|Recipe||The vegetables are stirred first, and then the rest of the ingredients are added along with the marinated chicken.||Whereas in the Szechuan recipe, the battered chicken is fried first, then the vegetables are fried, in the end, the other ingredients are added, and stir-fried.|
|Cuisine||Hunan chicken is a part of Xiang, or Hunan Cuisine.||Whereas, on the other hand, Szechuan chicken is a part of Szechuan cuisine.|
What is Hunan Chicken?
Hunan cuisine, also known as Xiang cuisine comprises cuisines originated from the Xiang River Region of Western Hunan province of China. Hunan cuisine is one of the eight traditional Chinese cuisines and is popular among the world for its hot, and spicy flavor.
Hunan Cuisine is well-known for its aromatic spiciness, and sourness, as pepper is the key ingredient of the cuisine. Its popular dishes include steamed fish head with chopped chili, fried pork with chilies, lobster, tofu, Hunan rice noodles, spicy salted duck, etc.
The raw ingredients of the cuisine are well-matched so that different tastes of the ingredients complement each other, so the result is tasty. The food is cooked with more oil as compared to Szechuan cuisine, and hence appears to be darker than any other cuisine.
The recipe of Hunan Chicken is as follows:
- Take a bowl and add 1/4th cup of cornstarch then season it with salt and pepper. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat them well.
- Add all the ingredients for the sauce into another bowl, whisk until combined well.
- Put a large pan on medium flame, add vegetable oil and add the chicken pieces, cook them well until golden-brown, once cooked, put the chicken aside.
- Pour 2-3 tablespoons of oil into the pan, and add vegetables, cook them for another 7-8 minutes.
- Add the chicken combined with sauce into the pan, stir well to coat the chicken.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and serve with white rice.
- Last but not the least, garnish it with sesame seeds, and green onions.
What is Szechuan Chicken?
Szechuan cuisine is also known as Sichuan cuisine, or Szechwan cuisine is one of the popular cuisines across the world and is a Chinese cuisine that comes from the Sichuan province of China. Popular meals of Szechuan cuisine are spicy diced chicken, twice-cooked pork, fish-flavored pork sauce, and Szechuan chicken. Moreover, all the meals have pungency and spiciness in common, which is a result of abundance usage of garlic and chili peppers, combined with a distinctive flavor of Szechuan sauce.
Sichuan has poor weather, high humidity level, and a lot of rainy days, which makes the usage of red chili pepper vital. As the red chili pepper is known to reduce the internal dampness. Moreover, the humid climate makes the people implement many preservation techniques including salting, drying, pickling, and smoking food. Szechuan cuisine is not only famous for its pungent but also its fish, as well as beef dishes. Sichuan is known to have an abundance of oxen in the region which paves the way for many beef dishes.
Szechuan’s menu keeps on changing depending upon the season, for example, cold meats with peppers helps the locals to keep themselves cool in the summer season, whereas, on the other hand, hot, and spicy food during the winter season helps to keep themselves warm.
The recipe of the Szechuan Chicken is as follows:
- Put chicken and 1/4th cup of cornstarch into a large reusable bag, season it with pepper and then shake to coat the chicken.
- Put a pot on medium, or high flame pour enough oil to fry the chicken.
- In a large pot, pour 1-2 tablespoons of oil, add ginger and garlic paste, cook until they turn light brown, now add bell pepper and cook for another 5-7 minutes, then add dried chili and stir.
- In a small saucepan, pour some soya sauce, rice wine vinegar, chili garlic sauce, and sesame oil, whisk with the remaining cornstarch until thickened.
- Add chicken to the large pot, mix well. Lastly, garnish it with sesame seeds over the rice.
Main Differences Between Hunan and Szechuan Chicken
- Hunan Chicken, also known as Xiang, is identified as a meal with a simpler taste than that of Szechuan Chicken.
- Hunan chicken is known for its dry, purely hot, and oilier state, whereas, on the other hand, Szechuan is less spicy as compared to Hunan, and has a strong flavor of spices.
- Hunan cuisine originated in the Xian River Region in Western Hunan province of China, whereas, on the other hand, Szechuan cuisine originated in the Szechuan province of South-Western China.
- Unlike Hunan Chicken, Szechuan has a unique flavor of Sichuan peppercorn, strong flavor of spices, and citrus-like spice.
- Peanuts, sesame paste, and ginger play an important role in the Szechuan recipe, whereas, Hunan recipe has a mix of fresh ingredients, and smoked chicken.
Although Hunan, as well as, Szechuan chicken both originated from the same country i.e. China, but from different regions, the former from Western Hunan Province, while the Szechuan from South-Western Province.
They both are recipes of one item, but distinct recipes composition, consistency, spiciness, and style of making. Hunan Chicken is plainer, and hotter as compared to Szechuan Chicken, which is a combination of sweet and spicy. Both the dishes contain a large amount of chili pepper, and garlic, however, Hunan is spicier than Szechuan dish.