Easy Kung Pao Chicken

This easy kung pao chicken is comes together quickly and is better than any takeout version with its authentic and spicy, savory sauce.

Kung Pao chicken is one of Peter’s favorite Chinese dishes and is a typical dish to think of when it comes to Westernized Chinese takeaway. Although it’s not local to Hong Kong, we often see it on the menu at the Szechuan restaurants in town and make sure to order it.

My easy kung pao chicken comes together quickly and unlike the takeout version, you’ll know exactly what’s going into it. To add to the authenticity, I used tongue-numbing Szechuan peppercorns from a local spice shop that had a giant barrel full of these dangerous little babies.

This easy kung pao chicken is comes together quickly and is better than any takeout version with its authentic and spicy, savory sauce.

I love the unique spice flavor Szechuan peppercorns bring. You’ll notice it even before you taste it. Once I started to grind the peppercorns in my mortar and pestle the air was filled with the aromatic spiciness.

Feel free to leave them out if you are sensitive to spice but if you decide to go for it use caution when adding them to your dishes– the spice really builds! The first time I played around with my Kung Pao chicken recipe I used a few too many peppercorns and I think my whole mouth went numb.

Szechuan peppercorns can be found at many Asian grocery stores as well as many upscale supermarkets. The Shaoxing rice wine used in this recipe can also be found easily in Asian grocery stores (I use the Pagoda brand with the red label. Apparently there are imposter versions of this so make sure you read the label carefully).

A bottle of Shaoxing rice wine is cheap and will last, but if you are looking for a substitute you can try dry sherry (although I’ve not tried it myself). Don’t be daunted by the intense scent of the Shaoxing rice wine. It adds great flavor to Chinese dishes!

As usual I wanted this meal to be extra saucy so that I could smother my rice with it as well but you can always add more cornstarch if you prefer a thicker sauce.

This easy kung pao chicken is comes together quickly and is better than any takeout version with its authentic and spicy, savory sauce.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t chicken out and order take out– make your own easy Kung Pao chicken at home!

Easy Kung Pao Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Easy Kung Pao Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) vegetable oil
  • 8-10 dry red chili peppers
  • 1 pound (450 g) chicken breasts (chopped into bite sized chunks)
  • -------------------------------------
  • Marinade
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) Shaoxing wine
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) cornstarch
  • -------------------------------------
  • Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 mL) Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) water
  • 1 tablespoon (~14 g) palm sugar (substitute brown sugar)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger (minced)
  • 5-8 Sichuan peppercorns (ground) (optional-- be careful! These are hot!)
  • small handful of peanuts, de-shelled and peeled
  • green onion, to garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and cornstarch
  2. Add in chicken and coat well to marinade (10-15 min)
  3. Heat oil in a large pan over high heat
  4. Add chili peppers and stir until fragrant and peppers are deep red or black in color
  5. Toss in chicken and marinade and continue stirring until chicken is cooked through
  6. In another large bowl mix the sauce-- mix soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, rice wine vinegar, water, palm sugar, garlic, ginger, and Sichuan peppercorns
  7. Remove chicken from heat and stir in peanuts
  8. Pour sauce over chicken and peanuts and coat chicken
  9. Garnish with green onion
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  • Carol

    We too love Kung Pao chicken. Definitely going to try this. Thanks P.

  • Carole West @ Garden Up green

    This sounds fantastic and I have some chicken in the fridge that needs cooking . Perfect timing! Thanks for the recipe. -Carole

    • Great! Let me know if you try it out!

  • This looks so good…Mind if I join you the next time you make it? 🙂

    • Of course! Just make a quick trip from TX to HK 😉

  • Marsha Powell

    Yummy!