Easy Japanese Ponzu Chicken Stir Fry Recipe

Ponzu Chicken is our favourite quick & easy Japanese stir fry recipe that’s big on flavour!

Ponzu Chicken Stir Fry is one of our family’s favourite recipes to cook at home when craving a tasty trip to Japan.

This healthy recipe features common ingredients you’ll find in your cupboards so it makes for a great last minute meal. It’s ready to serve in under an hour, once the meat has had it’s time to relax and marinade.

You’ll love cooking our flavourful Ponzu Chicken Thigh recipe featuring lemon, ponzu sauce, rice wine vinegar, Thai red curry paste, brown sugar and scallions.

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Save our Japanese Ponzu Chicken Stir Fry recipe to Pinterest!
Save our Japanese Ponzu Chicken Stir Fry recipe to Pinterest!

What Is Ponzu?

Ponzu is a citrus-based sauce commonly used in Japanese cuisine.

It is tart, with a thin, watery consistency and nearly colorless. Ponzu shōyu or ponzu jōyu is ponzu with soy sauce added, and the mixed dark brown product is widely referred to as simply ponzu.

The term originally came into the Japanese language in the 17th-century as ponsu as a borrowing of the now obsolete Dutch word pons, meaning punch as in a beverage made from fruit juices. The sour nature of this sauce led to the final su being added, which means vinegar.

Ponzu is made by simmering mirin, rice vinegar, katsuobushi flakes, and seaweed over medium heat. The liquid is then cooled, strained to remove the katsuobushi flakes, and finally the juice of one or more of the following citrus fruits are added: yuzu, sudachi, daidai, kabosu, or lemon.

Ponzu shoyu is traditionally used as a dressing for tataki (lightly grilled, then chopped meat or fish) and also as a dip for nabemono (one-pot dishes) such as shabu-shabu. It is used as a dip for sashimi. In the Kansai region, it is offered as a topping for takoyaki.

You can purchase Ponzu online or try making homemade ponzu in your kitchen!

Homemade Ponzu Chicken Stir Fry recipe ingredients.
Homemade Ponzu Chicken Stir Fry recipe ingredients.

Travel to Japan by Cooking Ponzu Chicken at Home

I love traveling through Asia.

My first visit had me living in South Korea for a year as a teacher and it’s where I was first introduced to fermented vegetables like kimchi.

After my contract ended in Seoul I travelled throughout southeast Asia for 6 months, visiting India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Macau and the Maldives.

I spent 2 weeks traveling by bus and bullet train through Japan in the warm summer months. I started in Yokohama then explored TokyoKyotoNara and Osaka.

What I found most fascinating is Japan’s distinct regional food cultures. Much like the regional cuisines found in France, Germany, Italy or Spain, each town in Japan had its own local speciality.

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Ponzu Chicken thigh marinade.
Ponzu Chicken thigh marinade.

Where To Eat Ponzu Chicken Stir Fry

If you live in a large city in Canada or America you’ll likely have access to a local Japanese restaurant that serves authentic Ponzu Chicken Stir Fry.

Haven’t traveled to Japan before? It may be helpful to first sample Ponzu Chicken at a local Japanese restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You can determine if you prefer chicken breast or thigh meat, ideal thickness of the ponzu sauce and what side dishes to accompany the popular main course dish.

In Toronto, popular Japanese restaurants in Yorkville, King West and Ossington that may serve Ponzu Chicken include Sara, Fuwa Fuwa, Benihana, Hapa Izakaya, Koyoi, Kingyo, Santouka Ramen, Japango, Sushi Inn, Okonomi House and Kasa Moto.

Use tongs to transfer marinated Ponzu chicken thighs to a wok or skillet.
Use tongs to transfer marinated Ponzu chicken thighs to a wok or skillet.

My Family Loves Ponzu Chicken Thighs

My family loves feasting on a simple Ponzu Chicken Stir Fry.

Whenever my family dine at a Japanese restaurant for dinner I order up all the sushi and my dad eats a massive plate of grilled meat like yakitori or teriyaki, all to himself.

I knew my parents would enjoy this easy Ponzu Chicken recipe as they love the simplicity of stir frying. They’re also big fans of flavourful and fatty chicken thighs and acidic vinegar and lemon flavoured dishes.

This dish is a star in the kitchen during busy weeknights as all of the ingredients can typically be found in your fridge or cupboards. You can prepare the dish a day in advance. The more time the chicken thighs marinate in the ponzu sauce the better!

This dish is particularly popular with picky kids and if you double the recipe leftovers make for a great lunch the following day.

Ponzu chicken stir fry recipe.
Ponzu chicken stir fry recipe.

Ponzu Chicken Health Benefits

Our homemade Ponzu Chicken recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!

Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.   

Scallions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, lemons help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.

Nearly 50% of the people in the world get over 50% of their daily calories from rice. If eating brown rice featuring nutritious bran you’ll enjoy health benefits like cancer risk reduction and diabetes control.

Stir fry ponzu chicken until crispy and browned.
Stir fry ponzu chicken until crispy and browned.

Homemade Thai Red Curry Paste

Feel free to use your favourite store bought Thai curry paste at the grocery store or prepare from scratch in your kitchen. Use a mortar and pestle to grind all the ingredients together until you’ve created a smooth and fragrant mixture. This homemade Thai red curry paste recipe yields 4-5 tablespoons.

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, roasted until brown
  • 2 cardamom pods, roasted until brown
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10, large red dried chillies (seeds removed soaked in water for 10 minutes then finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp galangal, skin removed and chopped
  • 2 tsp lemongrass, chopped
  • 1 tsp kaffir lime peel, chopped
  • 1 tbsp coriander root, chopped
  • 3 tbsp shallots, chopped
  • 3 tbsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
  • 10, Thai red chillies
Serve Ponzu Chicken with sliced scallions.
Serve Ponzu Chicken with sliced scallions.

Japanese Cooking Tips

This yummy Ponzu Chicken is quick and easy to make at home.

  • We suggest preparing this Japanese stir fry recipe in a large nonstick skillet or wok.
  • We’ve used store bought Red Thai Curry Paste but you could make your own homemade red curry paste.
  • We suggest purchasing a bottle of Ponzu Sauce online so you always have it in your cupboards to add as a seasoning to Asian dishes that need a vinegary citrus kick!
  • We’ve used chicken thighs in this ponzu recipe but you could substitue for chicken breasts if that’s what you prefer.
  • We’ve used a lemon in this recipe but if you have a Japanese market in your city and can purchase fresh Asian citrus like yuzu feel free to substitue.
  • We’ve used brown sugar in this recipe but if you have access to palm sugar we suggest using it.
  • We’ve garnished the dish with sliced scallions but you could also sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds.
Serve Ponzu Chicken Stir Fry over a bed of steamed Japanese rice.
ServePonzu Chicken Stir Fry over a bed of steamed Japanese rice.

What To Serve with Ponzu Chicken

We love serving this homemade Ponzu Chicken recipe with steamed rice and a fresh salad or soup.

If you’re hosting a large dinner party or Asian-inspired potluck you might want to serve our Ponzu Chicken with dishes like Okonomiyaki Japanese Pancakes, Thai Pork Rib Soup with Vermicelli, Egg Tofu Soup with Pork Meatballs, Grabong Northern Thai Pumpkin Fritters, Gai Pad Med Mamuang Thai Cashew Chicken, Gaeng Masaman Beef Curry, Nam Tok Authentic Thai “Waterfall Beef” Salad, Gaeng Keow Wan Thai Green Curry Chicken, Thai Pork & Beef Mince Curry Khua Kling, Chiang Mai Noodles “Khao Soi”, Pad Kra Pao Thai Basil Stir-Fry and Thai Beef and Pumpkin Curry.

After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Lindt Lindor Cookies, Maraschino Cherry Cupcakes Recipe, Cinnamon Babka, Fig Frangipane Pistachio Tartlets, Caribbean Coconut Rum Banana Bread Bundt Cake, Maple Black Walnut Ice Cream, Blueberry Cream Cheese Earl Grey Ice Cream, Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream with Caramel and Swedish Ricotta Oatmeal Rhubarb Bars.

Now you're an expert on how to make the best Ponzu Chicken recipe!
Now you’re an expert on how to make the best Ponzu Chicken recipe!

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How To Make A Ponzu Chicken Stir Fry

Print Recipe
4.25 from 8 votes

Ponzu Chicken Stir Fry

How to make easy Ponzu Chicken for a simple stir fry. Our healthy Japanese recipe features thigh meat in a citrus marinade served with rice.
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 321kcal


  • mixing bowl
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • French knife
  • tongs
  • Large Skillet or Wok



  • 20 oz Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Lemon juice and zest
  • 1/4 cup Ponzu Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 1/2 tsp Brown Sugar
  • Pinch Kosher Salt
  • 1 Scallion chopped


  • Mix all of the ingredients (except the oil) in a large bowl.
  • Turn the chicken thighs with tongs to coat. Cover the bowl in a tea towel. Marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.
  • Remove chicken from the marinade. Pour oil into a large skillet and warm over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken thighs. Cook uncovered for 4 minutes on each side, and then covered for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour in reserved ponzu marinade and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then pour the sauce over the chicken and serve hot.


Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.3g | Protein: 41.2g | Fat: 14.3g | Saturated Fat: 3.7g | Cholesterol: 126mg | Sodium: 528mg | Potassium: 390mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 0.8g | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 2mg

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