Originally posted September 18, 2012

kung pao chicken

kung pao chicken by joanie

I like eating chicken with nuts. I like chicken and cashews in a nice tikka masala. I like chicken and almonds in a romaine salad. I like chicken and peanuts in a sweet, sour, and spicy kung pao.

If you have to share your kung pao with kids, you can reduce the number of red peppers or forego them completely. Sure, it won't be kung pao, but it'll still taste good.

Tip: Once you cut and measure out everything, the cooking part is nearly instantaneous so you should make sure your rice and veggies are ready to go when you heat the wok. Remove the wok from the burner if you need to buy time.


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Chinese black rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp cooking wine (e.g. xiao xing)
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
  • 9 dried red peppers, trimmed and halved
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1" ginger, finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 green onions, cut into 1/2" slices
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts
  • salt to taste
4 servings


Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, corn starch, sugar, wine, and sesame oil. Set aside.

Heat peanut oil in a large wok on high heat. Add peppercorns and cook for a few seconds until they start to smoke. Strain out the peppercorns and discard. (I tip the wok and use a small strainer to scoop out the floating bits.)

Add the red peppers and stir. Then add the chicken and stir a few times to separate the meat. Stirring continuously, add the ginger, garlic, and green onions. When the chicken seems about done, add the soy sauce mixture and peanuts. Stir until the sauce thickens. Taste and add salt if needed.

Serve immediately.

30 minutes



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Adapted from

Fuchsia Dunlop
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