Chinese Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce

Chinese Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce is an easy restaurant style stir-fry with a peppery brown sauce and Szechuan bite.
Chinese Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce

Chinese Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce

by Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

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Chinese Chicken  with Black Pepper Sauce is  my recipe of the day. I am really fond of this recipe. I first wrote it back in November of 2002.

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Chinese Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce

Someone online had been seeking the recipe. I was familiar with the dish. Around that time we frequented a place in Miamisburg Ohio called Williehana Asian Buffet. Not that I am that fond of buffets, but the guy who ran the place, William Hung, a Malaysian immigrant, previously had worked down here in Cincinnati at the Benihana before opening his own place and also added a teppenyaki grill as you sometimes see here and there. We came for the fish, and from time to time sampled some of his other things on the buffet to fill out the plate.

I first had Mala chicken there and another kimchi-come-coleslaw that may have been Malaysian which I really loved that he said his wife made (but didn’t offer much more info than that). He also had black pepper chicken on the buffet as you see it here. And I just loved it.

Chinese Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce

So when I saw the request for the dish, I was stoked and determined to recreate it (I have had a number of successes doing that sort of thing) since I also wanted to make it at home. So we went up there and I ate nothing but Black Pepper chicken that night. I even walked out with some extra in a napkin for a test sample. “No take out! You eat all you want but you eat it here!”

Naughty me. It was just a few bites. I needed it to get this recipe done. Because, you know. William was a really nice guy but he really wasn’t going to tell me a single thing about how he made it. I was on my own.

Chinese Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce

But at home, I had chicken sitting there and already knew most of what I wanted to do but just mixed the sauce until it was exactly like what he had made. Which in all truth wasn’t complicated at all, which you can see.  But that reinforces what I tell everyone all the time,  that most restaurant recipes are the simplest way possible, no fancy steps or ingredients. It saves them time and it saves them money to keep it basic.

Williehana did fry the chicken pieces as I have done here, but it is not totally necessary. There will be a textural and slight flavor change (no starch) if you just stir-fry the chicken without frying, but if it is important to you to cut back on fat, please do so.

This recipe is slightly updated from the one I posted in 2002. Not that there is anything off with that recipe, but I have a smaller family now, so the chicken size is cut back, and as many people do, I increased the sauce. But the original that William did was essentially just a glaze, not saucy at all. Since that time I have seen this recipe done elsewhere on buffets, sometimes with tons of gloopy sauce. I wouldn’t double the sauce from what you see here.

Those other recipes didn’t match the flavor of Williams cooking, from the black pepper chicken to the mala. His restaurant has been closed for several years now and he has disappeared from the scene. Who knows what became of him? I asked about but no one knew. It’s a shame because he was really talented.

But in all, this is a nice reminisce for me, and one that takes me back. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

And William, wherever you are, we miss you, and good luck in all you do. And as for the extra chicken from my plate I should not have tucked into a napkin, well. Now even though we can’t find you, we can still have what you created, even far from where you created it. Your legacy lives on, dude.


You might also like:

One-Pot Black Pepper Chicken

First, One-Pot Black Pepper Chicken uses an easy marinade and simple sauce with onions and bell peppers for a peppery, but not too spicy, stir-fry.

There is a fake pin going around on Pinterest with somebody’s photo that points to my website. But here is a recipe if you are looking for one. 

One-Pot Black Pepper Chicken

Sugar-Free Hoisin Sauce

Also, Homemade hoisin sauce, from scratch, without any sugar.

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Mala Baked Tofu Bites

And Spicy baked tofu makes a great healthy appetizer.

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Chinese Fried Rice

Then, Classic fried rice the way I have been making it for years.

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Chinese Hot and Sour Soup

Finally, this tasty soup is quick and simple to make with a boxed broth.

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Chinese Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce

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Chinese Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce

Chinese Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce

Sue Lau
!click stars to rate this recipe!
4.89 from 26 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Chinese
Servings 2
Calories 898 kcal



  • 10 ounces boneless chicken breast or boneless chicken thigh
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots thawed
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • hot steamed rice

Black Pepper Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark sweet soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper


  • Stir together ingredients for sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Chop chicken into 1/2-inch bites.
  • Place chicken in a small bowl and toss with cornstarch until thoroughly and evenly coated.
  • Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large skillet.
  • Fry chicken pieces in hot oil over med-high heat until golden and cooked through (may need to do several batches so as not to crowd the pan); drain on paper toweling.
  • Heat 2 tbsp. peanut oil in a wok skillet and add onions when oil is hot. Cook onions until they become translucent, then add peas and carrots and cook for another minute.
  • Stir in chicken pieces and as it  becomes hot, add sauce to the pan, and stir a few times to coat well.
  • Serve stir-fry with hot steamed rice.


From the kitchen of


Calories: 898kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 25gFat: 78gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 22gMonounsaturated Fat: 35gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 139mgSodium: 985mgPotassium: 441mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 3438IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 42mgIron: 2mg
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Chinese Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce

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Post  content  has been updated from 2.25.15

24 responses

  1. I love the story behind this recipe. I already know that I love black pepper chicken, but after reading about Williehana, I’m even more excited to try your recipe!

  2. Wow, this looks so incredible. This is something I know I could eat over and over again. I just had dinner and I’m already feeling hungry again lookin at this.

  3. Wow, this is so yummy looking. I just ate dinner, but you are still making me feel hungry. This is the kind of dish I could eat over and over again.

  4. I tried this recipe out the other day and there was nothing but SILENCE at the table. Everyone’s mouth was too full to talk. Absolutely DELICIOUS!!! This recipe is a keeper!!! Thanks.

    • Thank you. I put together that recipe a really long time ago for a friend, and no one has gotten tired of it yet. Tastes just like the one Chef William Hung made in his restarant- not that he’d ever give up the ghost on the recipe. Actually it is pretty straightforward and simple, as are most restaurant recipes.

  5. One of my favorite dishes at our local Chinese buffet is the Black Pepper Chicken. I happened to come across your recipe the other day and made it tonight. Wow! Tastes just like my favorite – even better! This recipe is a keeper! Thanks!

    • Thanks! I’m glad you liked it. Some of the buffets make something a little different and it is not as good. This one is just like what William Hung at at Williehana Buffet in Miamisburg OH. He had a few good ones like this. I miss that place!

  6. I made this tonight and it was delicious! Very easy to make too. I subbed veggies with what I had on hand. This recipe will be a regular in our household now. Thank you for sharing!

    • I would suggest using an app for calculating nutritional data based on your personal needs. There are many available.

  7. Sent to me via my contact button, adding it here.

    Hi Sue, I came across your recipe for Chinese Chicken with Black Pepper Sauce and tried it last night. As a 46-year-old single dude, it was the first time I’ve tried making a dish from a recipe in YEARS. Yours looked too good to pass up, so I tried it…and it was fantastic. Thank you so much for posting and for the great story behind it. I did take a few liberties with the ingredients: i wanted it spicy, so I added some hot chili sauce to the sauce. I also swapped out peas for a little broccoli and red bell pepper. Finally, I cooked the chicken with some Szechuan sauce I had (San-J brand, which is great). It was a bit salty, but otherwise it was great. I’ll keep tinkering with it. The dark soy sauce seemed like a key. My favorite Chinese restaurant ever (a little place in Kirkland, WA, which closed during early Covid days) made the greatest Kung Pao Chicken I’ve ever tried (and I try a LOT of Kung Pao), and the secret was Mushroom soy sauce. I don’t know if the ‘dark soy sauce’ i bought is the same, but it seemed pretty close. I’d never heard of mushroom soy sauce until the owner of that place told me, and man, it really gave the KP chicken a boost of flavor. Anyway, sorry for the long note. I’m a little proud of myself (my mom couldn’t believe it), so I thought I’d thank you, and also let you know that I’ll be trying more of your recipes soon. Thanks again. -Dave, WA.

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