Kung Pao Chicken: Spicy Chicken with Peanuts

Kung Pao Chicken

I love Chinese food! What I don’t love is the inconsistent food I get from my favorite Chinese restaurant.  The food has always spot on in the past but lately has been hit-or-miss. So when my Mom made this Kung Pao Chicken recipe out of the book she was reading Why the Chinese Don’t Count Calories I was thrilled!

I have only eaten Kung Pao once or twice before and wasn’t impressed with it. This version is so much better! This I am crazy over.

Kung Pao chicken is a Sichuan classic. If you order this here in America you are most likely getting a dish that has strayed far from the traditional dish. My Mom did an excellent job of staying true to the original recipe. This was positively delicious, sweet and sour with a spicy heat that creeps up on you. That’s the best kind of heat, one that doesn’t overpower your taste buds and allows you to taste the flavors in the food. This is a recipe to rival any Chinese take-out. And will be revisited again and again in our house.

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken/Gong bao ju ding/Spicy Chicken with Peanuts
(adapted from Why the Chinese Don’t Count Calories by Lorraine Clissold page 109)
For the chicken
2 cups chicken breast
3/4 cup roasted peanuts
2 teaspoon beaten egg or egg white
3 teaspoon corn flour or cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon white wine
Supporting vegetables
1 tablespoon spring/green onion(we added extra), cut in 1/2 pieces
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced
4-6 fine slices ginger, each cut into quarters
3-6 dried red chilies, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns(we used black)
For the sauce mix
2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoon red rice vinegar
1 teaspoon cooking wine
1-2 tablespoon of a 1-2 cornflour and water mix(we used cornstarch)
1-2 tablespoon additional water
salt to taste
1 and 1/2 tablespoon oil
Brown rice, for serving
Cube the chicken breast in small pieces a little bigger than the peanuts. Sprinkle them with salt and wine and mix well with egg/egg white and cornflour. Make sure they are coated but not sloppy.
Mix together the sauce ingredients.
To cook, heat the wok to a high heat, add the oil, swirl around, and fry the chilies and peppercorns for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the chicken, garlic, ginger, and onion.Stir-fry these to allow the flavor to come out, then add the peanuts.
Add the liquid ingredients (stirring first to dissolve the cornflour) and allow it to come to the boil stirring gently. Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes, to thicken, and then add additional liquid until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Add extra salt to taste, mix well, remove from heat, and serve over rice
if desired.

Kung Pao Chicken


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  1. says

    I made this Sunday night when we invited my parents over for dinner, it was really good. I think I used a little more chicken then I should have because it was very mild, but still really tastey. And it was great for leftovers!

  2. says

    I love kung pao! …An old favorite dish of mine that I never tried making. I think I will after seeing your recipe and photo! yummy!

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