Kung Pao Chicken is a delicious Chinese-style chicken stir fry. It is one of the most popular restaurant takeaway dishes. Be sure to watch the video!
About Kung Pao Chicken
The Kung Pao Chicken recipe originated in the Sichuan province of China, well-known for its hot peppers. It is also known as Chicken Gong Bao.
It is a sweet and spicy chicken dish widely popular in restaurants and takeout joints worldwide.
Kung Pao is the best thing that can happen on a Friday night. Or for, say, on any night when you are planning a fun family dinner.
After testing many Kung Pao recipes, I conclude that you cannot simultaneously think of healthy and takeaway-style chicken. It is the kind of dish that requires a bit of frying and involves cornstarch. Without these two, I doubt there can be any good Kung Pao.
Hence, I am sharing a truly restaurant-style Chicken Kung Pao recipe that is delicious and easy to follow at home.
Is this an authentic recipe?
The authentic Gong Bao recipe requires Sichuan peppers and other local ingredients. I have tweaked the authentic recipe to make it more practical or workable for everybody.
Is this a tried and tested tasty recipe?
This might not be an authentic Chinese family recipe, but it is guaranteed delicious. Follow the recipe measurements and instructions to the tee, and you will always end up with a finger-licking good Chicken Kung Pao.
Can I make vegetarian kung pao?
Yes, absolutely. Use paneer (cottage cheese), tofu, cauliflower, broccoli, or mushroom instead of chicken. Keep the sauce and other ingredients the same. You will end up with a delicious bowl of vegetarian or vegan kung pao.
My Tried & True Tips
Start with the sauce mixture. If you like it fierce, add more chilli sauce or if you prefer it a little sweeter, be generous with the brown sugar.
Use bite-size pieces of chicken. This helps in the quick cooking and frying of the chicken pieces. The large pieces of chicken usually take a longer time to get cooked.
Can I skip cornstarch? Cornstarch makes the sauce gooey and finger-licking good. You can use potato starch or rice flour to thicken the sauce. If you do not care about the consistency of the sauce, then go ahead and skip adding starch.
Is frying chicken necessary? Yes absolutely. Those crispy bits of chicken dunked in sweet and spicy sauce is the soul of this chicken recipe. To save a few calories, you can air-fry the marinated chicken till crisp.
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Kung Pao Chicken Recipe
Ingredients for marinade
- 500 gram boneless & skinless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon white pepper or to taste
- ¼ Cup cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- Salt to taste
Ingredients For Sauce:
- ½ Cup diced yellow bell pepper
- ½ Cup diced red bell pepper
- 2 – 4 dry red chilies
- 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoon fine chopped celery or spring onion
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon sriracha sauce or red chili sauce
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- ¼ Cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
- Salt to taste
- 6 tablespoon sesame oil or cooking oil
Ingredients For Garnish:
- 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts
- 1 tablespoon chopped spring onion greens
- Rinse the chicken pieces in water and pat dry with paper towels. Marinate the chicken pieces in oil, soy sauce, pepper, salt, and cornflour. Set aside for 15 – 20 minutes or keep in the fridge overnight.
- Heat up a wok with 4 tablespoons of oil. Stir-fry the marinated chicken pieces until they are cooked and turn pale white in color. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside.
- Combine soy sauce, sriracha sauce, vinegar, sugar, cornflour and water in a bowl. Keep aside till required.
- In the same wok, heat remaining oil and stir fry the bell peppers for a minute. Transfer them to a bowl and keep aside.
- Add the chopped ginger, garlic, and dried red chilies. Stir fry until aromatic or 10 – 20 seconds.
- Next, add the chopped celery or spring onion and quickly stir-fry for less than a minute.
- Now, add the fried chicken pieces and mix nicely. Add the sauce mixture, salt, and stir-fry until the chicken pieces are nicely coated with the sauce. Allow the chicken to cook in the sauce for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Add the bell peppers and stir to combine. Turn off the heat.
- Garnish Kung Pao with roasted peanuts and spring onion greens.
- Serve Kung Pao Chicken with steamed jasmine rice.
- Adjust the amount of salt as per the taste of the sauces and the sodium amount in each sauce.
- If you like the sauce fierce add more chili sauce or if you prefer it little sweeter be generous with the brown sugar.
- Adjust the consistency of the gravy by adding more or less water.
- Use bite-size pieces of chicken. This helps in the even cooking and frying of the chicken pieces.
- If you do not care about the consistency of the sauce then skip cornstarch.