Kung Pao ChickenJump to Recipe
Chicken tossed with diced vegetables and peanuts in a spicy garlic sauce, it’s your Chinese takeout dreams come true. It’s a classic dish in Chinese cuisine and can be found in restaurants worldwide. Now it’s also in your own kitchen with this easy Kung Pao Chicken recipe.
The traditional kung pao chicken recipe originates from the Sichuan Province of southwestern China. It features cubes of chicken, peanuts, vegetables and of course, Sichuan peppercorns. You can find this all across China though and it also has become a staple of westernized Chinese cuisine.
Why is Kung Pao Chicken So Popular?
If you already tried it yourself, you know why it’s so popular. The chicken and vegetables are tossed in a complex sauce of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy flavours making it extremely addicting.
What also makes kung pao chicken so popular is how simple the recipe is. All the ingredients are relatively easy to find and the instructions are straightforward. You can also modify it easily too. If you’re a spice lover, add more hot peppers! If you’re not, then you can leave them out completely and the dish will still taste amazing.
About the Recipe
This Kung Pao Chicken recipe calls for red bell peppers and zucchini. The more authentic Sichuan recipe omits the vegetables and is strictly just spicy chicken. Some restaurants like to use celery and carrots instead. Feel free to switch up the veggies in this stir-fry too!
An important step in making kung pao chicken is marinating the chicken in cornstarch, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce and baking soda. The wine enhances the end flavour of the chicken and the cornstarch coating seals the moisture inside the chicken. This will prevent the chicken from overcooking and keep it nice and tender.
Kung Pao Chicken Recipe
- 28 oz bonless/skinless chicken breast
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- ½ cup chicken stock, (water works too)
- 5 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
- 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 2 tsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
- 4-6 cloves garlic
- 1-inch knob fresh ginger
- ½ medium red bell pepper
- ½ medium zucchini
- 8-10 dried chillies, adjust to taste
- 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 scallion
- ½ cup roasted/unsalted peanuts, (optional)
- Begin by prepping all your ingredients. Wash the vegetables and remove the seeds from the red bell pepper. Then chop them into bite-sized pieces. Do the same with the zucchini.
- Peel both the ginger and garlic. Mince the garlic and slice the ginger. Rinse the green onion and then chop it into thin slices. Save the green onions for garnish.
- Get your chicken ready by rinsing it off and patting it dry with some paper towels. Then chop the chicken breast into 1-inch cubes.
- In a bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients and add in the cubed chicken. Cover and let it marinate for 10 minutes.
- In another bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
- Once the chicken is finished marinating, heat a large pan over high heat. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil before adding the marinated chicken. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes until the edges are browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add in the rest of the vegetable oil with the minced garlic, ginger, chilli peppers and Sichuan peppercorns. Stir fry for 1 minute or until it becomes fragrant.
- Give your prepared sauce a quick mix before pouring it into the pan. Bring it to a simmer while stirring.
- Once the sauce has thickened slightly (~2 minutes), add the chicken back in. Add in the vegetables and mix until the sauce coats everything evenly.
- Cook everything for another 2 minutes. Then remove from heat and plate.
- Garnish with green onions and peanuts. Serve hot with a side of cooked rice. Enjoy!