Kung pao chicken is a dish well-loved by many fans of Chinese food. The cooking technique originated around the Sichuan province in China, and traditionally calls for ingredients like Sichuan peppercorn which we probably won’t find here in the US. Of course, here in the States the very Americanized kung pao chicken tends to be greasy, gooey and sweet.
For our recipe, we wanted to make it lighter and much less greasy. If you can find the Sichuan peppercorns (they’ll usually be in Whole Foods or your local Chinatown shop), add a teaspoon to the dish. Otherwise, just leave them out. The secret to this recipe is marinating the chicken before cooking the stir fry. Serve this chicken with white rice. Keep reading below for our favorite Kung Pao recipe…
Kung Pao Chicken
(makes 4 servings)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into 1″ cubes
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 8 red, dried chili peppers
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 6 green onions, chopped
- 2/3 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
- Mix together the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken to the marinade and set aside.
- Combine the ingredients for the sauce, whisking well to make sure the cornstarch incorporates.
- Thinly slice the garlic. Break the chilies open and discard the seeds inside. Cut the chilies into a few large pieces.
- Places the sesame oil for the stir fry in a large pot or wok. Set the heat to medium-high. Add the chilies and peppercorns (if using). Stir-fry for a few seconds until fragrant. Add the chicken. As soon as the pieces have separated, add the garlic, ginger, and green onions. Stir-fry for a few minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
- Add the sauce and toss. Once the sauce has thickened, add the peanuts, toss, and serve.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious