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Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pan Chicken is loaded with tender chicken, peanuts in a sweet-spicy sauce. This fast stir fry recipe is a restaurant classic and delicious made from scratch at home.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword kung pao chicken
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 319kcal
Author Toni Dash

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon Soy sauce regular or gluten-free (tamari)
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine dry sherry can be substituted
  • 1 tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1 pound boneless skinless Chicken Breasts or thighs cut into 1-inch cubes

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce regular or gluten-free (Tamari)
  • 1 tablespoon Hoisin Sauce regular or gluten-free
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Black Vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon crushed Szechuan peppercorns or Szechuan pepper

For Cooking

  • 2 tablespoons Peanut oil
  • 6-8 dried Red chilies substitute Birds Eye Chilies
  • 2 cloves Garlic diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Ginger peeled and diced
  • 3 Scallions white and green portions sliced
  • ¼ cup unsalted roasted Peanuts

Optional ingredient

  • 1/2 red bell pepper thinly sliced (OPTIONAL to add color)

Instructions

Marinating the Chicken

  • Stir the 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon rice wine together. Whisk until the cornstarch dissolves.
  • Add the chicken and coat with sauce. Allow to sit 15 minutes at room temperature.

Make the Sauce

  • In a separate bowl mix together the sauce ingredients (soy sauce, hoisin sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch and Szechuan pepper).
    Whisk until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set aside.

Cooking the Kung Pao Chicken

  • When the chicken has marinated 15 minutes, heat a wok or large non-stick skillet over high heat. Turn on kitchen exhaust fan before beginning to cook.
  • Add the peanut oil to the wok or skillet. When fully hot add the dried red chilies and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the garlic, ginger and white portion of the scallions. Cook for 30 seconds stirring the entire time.
  • Next add the chicken and marinade. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink (4-5 minutes). Stirring periodically.
  • OPTIONAL: if adding the red bell pepper, add it here. Stir to combine.
  • Add the sauce to the wok and stir to coat the chicken.
  • Add the peanuts and toss to combine. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and serve over hot rice granished with the green scallion slices.

Notes

Ingredient Notes
Chicken. Boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs can be used. Thighs will take a minute or two longer to cook.
Peanut oil. This oil is used specifically for flavor but also because it has a high smoke point meaning it can cook over high heat without smoking. If needing to substitute another oil use a high smoke point oil like Safflower oil or Sunflower oil.
Dried red chilies. These should be small dried Asian chilies (not dried Mexican chilies). Look for them in the Asian cooking section of the grocery store or at a dedicated Asian supermarket. If having difficulty finding them use dried Thai chilies or Birds Eye Chilies. These are smaller but also hot.
Some people slice or crush them, I do not recommend that. It's easier to find and remove them when someone is eating if they are whole. They are only 1/2-3/4 inches long. They are small but fierce.
Cooking the chili peppers with the oil releases their flavor and spicy heat into the oil so all the other ingredients will be infused. This is a case where more is not better. Don't use more than 6-8 of the peppers.
Chinese black vinegar. A very small amount is used. If you don't have it already or can't find it substitute balsamic vinegar.
Chinese cooking wine. If you can't find it substitute dry sherry or Mirin which is also a rice cooking wine (its a bit sweeter than Chinese cooking wine but not much is used). Widely available in the Asian grocery section.
Red Bell Pepper: this is not traditional to the recipe but adds some appealing color. Add it if desired.
Stir Fry Pro Tip
Have all ingredients prepped before starting to cook. Stir frying is a very fast cooking method. There is no time to prep anything while cooking. Have the ingredients ready and next to the stove top before starting. 
 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 710mg | Potassium: 797mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1232IU | Vitamin C: 120mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg