Sha Cha Chicken
Sha Cha Chicken combines the rich flavors of Sha Cha sauce with tender chicken, creating a dish that’s both comforting and immensely flavorful. We’ve discovered that this dish offers a delicious blend of savory, slightly spicy, and umami tastes.
Sha Cha sauce, also known as Chinese BBQ sauce or Satay sauce, is a unique and flavorful condiment as it’s a complex blend of ingredients that results in a savory, slightly spicy, and umami-rich sauce. Here are some key characteristics of Sha Cha sauce:
- Seafood elements: The sauce typically contains dried shrimp, brill fish, and sometimes dried scallops, contributing to its distinct umami and seafood flavors.
- Aromatics and spices: Garlic, shallots, chilis, and various spices are blended in, adding depth and a bit of heat.
- Soybean oil: Used as the base, it helps in creating a paste-like consistency.
- Roasted peanuts: Some variations include peanuts, adding a nutty flavor and thicker texture.
Rich in flavor: Sha Cha Chicken
- Chicken: The dish typically uses boneless chicken pieces cut into bite-sized chunks, often breast or thigh. For this dish, we use chicken thighs as we prefer thighs over breasts since thighs don’t dry out so quickly; thighs are incredibly tender and juicy once cooked.
- Vegetables: For this recipe, we add some white onions and scallions into the stir-fry - white onion gives the dish a sweet bite, and scallions give an additional pop of color and bite.
- Sha Cha sauce: This is the star ingredient - it’s used to marinate the chicken and also added to the stir-fry, imparting a deep, umami-rich flavor with hints of seafood and a subtle spiciness.
- Aromatics: Garlic and ginger are often used to add depth and fragrance to the dish; to save time when making this recipe, we recommend ginger and garlic paste.
Pick your own flavors
Adding some chili flakes or hot sauce can really turn up the spice level for those who love a bit of heat. For a texture change, throwing in some crushed peanuts adds a beautiful bite to the dish.
A splash of lime juice can give the dish a zesty zing, perfect for those who enjoy a citrusy flavor. If you prefer a sweeter taste, a hint of honey provides a lovely balance to the dish’s flavors, and to make it more nutritious, you can toss in extra vegetables like broccoli or carrots. For our vegetarians, swapping the chicken with tofu can be a great twist on this recipe.
We like to have lots of serving choices because this makes our meals more interesting if we’re making the base sauce every week - pair it or serve it differently each time;
- Over rice: Serve this dish on a simple bed of steamed rice. The rice is a great base that pairs well with the flavors and helps soak up the delicious sauce.
- Noodles: Pair it with noodles for a more filling meal. The noodles mix well with the dish’s flavors, offering a satisfying and tasty combination.
- Wrap & roll: For a lighter option, use it as a filling for lettuce wraps. This combination is healthy and adds a fresh and crunchy texture to the meal.
- Side salad: A light, crisp salad is a great accompaniment. It adds a fresh element to the meal and balances out the richness of the main dish.
- Bread buddy: Enjoy it with naan or pita bread for a different experience. The bread is perfect for scooping up the flavorful sauce and chicken.
- Soup starter: Pair with a light soup for a well-rounded meal. A simple soup complements the dish without overshadowing its flavors, creating a balanced and enjoyable meal experience.
If you like this recipe, here are some others you might enjoy:
What's the flavor profile of Sha Cha sauce?
The combination of seafood and aromatics gives Sha Cha sauce a pronounced savory taste with a rich umami depth, and while not overly hot, it does have a subtle spiciness that adds warmth to dishes.
How is Sha Cha sauce used in Chinese cooking?
Sha Cha sauce is incredibly versatile in Chinese cooking; it's commonly used in stir-fries, as a marinade for meats, in hot pot dipping sauces, and sometimes in soup bases, and it's often paired with beef, chicken, or seafood.
Can I store Sha Cha Chicken in the fridge?
Yes, store Sha Cha Chicken in the fridge for roughly three days in an airtight container.
What can I serve with Sha Cha Chicken?
When it comes to accompanying Sha Cha Chicken, there are several great options: steamed rice makes a classic and comforting side, blending seamlessly with the dish's flavors. For those who prefer noodles, medium egg noodles offer a satisfying and tasty alternative, complementing the chicken's rich sauce. Charred broccoli can add a smoky, crunchy dimension, enhancing the meal with both flavor and nutrition. Lastly, stir-fried vegetables are a great choice for adding color and a mix of textures to the meal.
Sha Cha Chicken
We discovered Sha Cha chicken recently and we couldn’t believe how quick and easy it was to make a restaurant-quality dish like this.
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs - chopped
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1.5 teaspoons minced ginger or 1.5 teaspoons ginger paste
1.5 teaspoons minced garlic or 1.5 teaspoons garlic paste
2 tablespoons sha cha sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 medium white onion
3 green onions (chopped in 1-inch pieces)
Vegetable oil (as needed)
Mix the sliced chicken thighs, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 2 teaspoons cornstarch in a bowl.
Heat a pan over high heat with a little bit of vegetable oil. Once the pan is hot, add the chopped chicken thighs to the pan until the chicken slices cook on the outside - roughly 30 seconds on each side. It’s fine if the slices are still slightly pink in the center since we will put the chicken back into the pan to cook completely. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.
Reduce the heat to medium heat. Add 1.5 teaspoons of ginger, 1.5 teaspoons of garlic, 2 tablespoons of sha cha sauce, 2 teaspoons of sugar, and half the chopped white onion to the pan and cook for 1 minute.
After 1 minute, add the chicken and the green onions into the pan with the sha cha sauce mixture. Cook everything on high heat until the white onions are opaque and the green onions have wilted. The chicken should also be completely cooked through.
While cooking the chicken initially, you may have to cook the chicken in batches so that you can evenly cook each piece of chicken.
- Calories 219 kcal |
- Carbohydrate Content 10.3 g |
- Cholesterol Content 106.5 mg |
- Fat Content 9.3 g |
- Fiber Content 0.6 g |
- Protein Content 22.8 g |
- Serving Size 1 portion |
- Sodium Content 214.5 mg |
- Sugar Content 6.7 g |
About the author
Emma Donin is the culinary maestro behind this blog that serves as a melting pot of global cuisines and gastronomic adventures. Her culinary journey began in her grandmother's kitchen, where she learned the fundamentals of cooking and the importance of using fresh, quality ingredients.