Sichuan style of Chinese cuisine is one of my favourites, especially for it’s use of the Sichuan peppercorns which have a mouth numbing property that pairs well with spicy heat and has an amazing flavour that is pretty unique. This kung pao chicken is probably the sichuan style dish that I make most frequently and when I made it again the other day (updated 20120115) I took the opportunity to update the the photos, recipe and this post! This is a very simple dish where chicken is diced and quickly sauteed in oil before adding whole dried chilies to cook and infuse the dish with their flavour and spicy heat. The sichuan peppercorns are toasted to bring out their amazing aroma and flavour before being added along with the chilies, garlic and ginger imbuing this meal with a tantalizing fragrance! Next up is the sauce which has salty soy sauce, tangy vinegar and a hint of sweetness from sugar, which, when combined with the heat creates such an amazing flavour combo that dances in your mouth! The dish is finished off with roasted peanuts, aromatic toasted sesame oil and fresh green onions! This kung pao chicken can be made in about as much time as it take to cook the rice that you can enjoy it over!
Kung Pao Chicken
A tasty Chinese chicken dish with spicy chilies and mouth numbing sichuan peppercorns that’s so quick and easy to make!
- 1 tablespoon oil (peanut or vegetable)
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 10 dried red chilies
- 1 teaspoon sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground (optional)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced/grated
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced/grated
- 1/4 cup chicken broth (or water)
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon chinkiang (Chinese black vinegar) (or balsamic vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 4 green onions, sliced
- Heat the oil in a large skillet (or wok) over medium-high heat, add the chicken and saute until lightly golden brown.
- Add the chilies, sichuan peppercorns, garlic, and ginger, and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the mixture of the broth, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and cornstarch, bring to a boil and simmer until it thickens a bit, about a minute.
- Remove from heat, mix in the peanuts, sesame oil, and green onions, and enjoy!
Option: Replace the light and dark soy sauce with soy sauce if you cannot find them.
Note: You do not eat the dried chilies. They are there to add heat and left in the finished dish for the visual effect.
Tip: Start cooking the rice just before starting this recipe and they will be done at the same time!
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Steve @ the black peppercorn says
Hey Kevin. Glad to have found another food blogger from Toronto! Been scanning through your site and I love it! This kung poa looks like a great dish! It is one of my favorite chinese dishes, especially with lots of chilies! I am hoping to do some chinese food for chinese new yew next week, likely gonna do some turnip cake! YUM!
Oh a Chinese classic! and best of all, you did it so well-not the heavy oily salty version!
and the leftovers are so good in moo shi pancakes. Well, if there are any leftovers. LOL
Girlie Blogger says
You put the "POW!" in Kung Pao Chicken. That's a LOT of red peppers!
Happy Chinese New Year!
I've always wondered if I could make it and if it would taste the same as the one in chinese restaurants, it looks pretty good I will sure give it a try!
Congratulations on getting Blogger's Blog of Note! I love your blog! This food looks amazing!
Rosa's Yummy Yums says
Oh that looks so good! A fatastic dish.
This sounds mouth-watering recipe!
I don't think I've EVER seen a kung pao chicken that isn't SMOTHERED in oil…but you've done it! I can feel the heat and the flavor from here!
mouth Numbing? Yikes. Still sounds amazingly flavorful!
You're making me so hungry!
Kevin so glad I found your site. Great recipes
This looks so good!! I can't wait to go to the Chinese store here and get some rice wine vinegar and Sichuan peppercorns. Thanks for sharing and would love to add your blog to my list of go-to blogs.
Lydia Lyn says
Congratulations on being honored as a Blog of Note! I hope to have the same badge on my vest someday.
Wendy @ Salt and Wine says
Woo hoo! Congrats on being blog of note! Long time follower here (even if I don't always comment). Happy to see you were chosen. 🙂
oh my, I can't wait to try this!
Interesting recipe on kung pao chicken. I was searching for it. I will try making it soon. Regards from NJ!
I loooove Kung Pao Chicken and I'm looking at all the peppers and thinking that it must have been fire.
Wow ~ this looks so fabulous! I am copying the recipe and hope to make soon!
Y u think says
I love Chinese, I think I will try to cook this – it will be a first for me.
cholesterol lowering diets says
Chinese new year is near! What a fun and bright dish this is. Congrats in making it to the blog of note!
Rosie Publications says
Wow, this recipe looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing. I love chicken dishes.
Tanapat Surisang says
It's delicious food,I like it.
Tanapat Surisang. allofthailand.blogspot.com
Looks and sounds delicious!!! Thank you for sharing!!
Rocky Mountain Woman says
I make a version of this that is a little heavier on the oil. I am going to try this one next time!
That recipes make me hungry after having breakfast. You make it looks perfect. I just dont like the rice, it makes me fatter 🙂
Sue @ Cakeballs, cookies and more says
just found your post I am from the area too, I will be following you now, I know how hard it is to work with a small kitchen.
Oh! I haven't done a lot of Chinese cooking, though I love to eat it! I especially like spicy, yet not oily, food. I will definitely have to try this!
This food looks so good. I am hunger now.
One of my absolute favorite Chinese food dishes. I'm definitely giving it a try at home!
Looks amazing. Definitely one of the classic Chinese dishes. Definitely have to come back to this site and check out more recipes.
You are a true talent, Kevin. Every time I visit I think you have outdone yourself.
Jessica Mariella says
Great photo! I have never tried Kung Pao chicken, but this photo makes we want to try it!
looks good. will have to try it out. thanks and great pics. olivia
I made your Kung Pao Chicken as well as your dumpling recipes last week for a dinner party. Both were a hit!! Thanks for sharing these!
My husband loves kung pao chicken. I will make this for him!
i'm going to make this tomorrow, thanks! One thing I would like to say to everyone who talks about oil quantities…. Fear not good fats! Thanks again! 🙂
Made this tonight and I wanted to check-in about the amount of sichuan peppercorns in this recipe. Should that maybe be 1 tsp instead of 1 Tbs? I ask because it was the only thing I could taste in the finished dish, and on reviewing other recipes of similar size, 1 tsp seems more standard. In related news, my mouth has been numb for hours XD
Amy: I guess you build up a tolerance for them. 🙂 I like to go with the full tablespoon but if you prefer you can easily go with less. I have update the recipe to indicate this. Thanks
made this tonight, WAY to salty (and i am known for over-salt everything!!), and really gritty? are sechuan peppercorns suppose to be like eating sand? was i supposed to grind them after toasting them?
Anonymous: This dish is not a salty one and I am not sure why yours came out so. I kind of like the texture of the Sichuan peppercorns but if you do not you can do one of two things: 1. As you say, grind them, but there will still be a bit of a gritty texture. 2. Saute them in the oil that you will be cooking with and then remove them from the oil before continuing. This will impart some of their fragrance and flavour to the oil but it will not be nearly as strong.
[email protected] says
Thanks so much for the Kung Pao chicken recipe. This is exactly what I wanted to make tonight.
Have been looking for a authentic Gongbaojiding recipe for quite some time. Tried this one tonight, it's great, thanks!
Hi Kevin. I tried this recipe today and I have to agree with the previous comments. The peppercorns were way too much. I'm Indian (with high tolerance for heat) and I've ordered hot Chinese dish, so I thought that I could take this. But what I felt about Sichuan peppercorns is that its not about the heat, it's a tangy sourness and numbing feeling. I don't know if the sauce had to do with the sourness too. Anyway it was a disaster and it went right into the trash lol! It reminded me of the recent ford focus "sour chicken" commercial and couldn't stop laughing! I'm not saying that your recipe is bad, I may have gone wrong somewhere. Damage control included dumping sugar, honey, sweet chili sauce, hoisin sauce – it just got worse. I think it's funny so thought I should share my experience. 🙂
Courtney Lorenz says
Same, we made this today and it was extremely salty and gross. Nothing like hung Patrick and I have had before. I have loved everything else from closet cooking so I’m not sure what went wrong. We used all the correct amounts.
@nc: Did you use the full tablespoon or did you start with the teaspoon as recommended in the recipe? The peppercorns should not be responsible for an overpowering sourness…
is it compulsory to add shaoxing wine or dry sherry in marinade? i want to avoid this as we are non alcholic family, any other substitution or suggestion for this.
Anonymous: Yes, you can omit the shaoxing wine in marinade!
I don’t see this listed as an ingredient, or any mention of a marinade. Am I missing something?
I made this twice and I love it. The first time I did not use the peppercorns since I did not have them. Went to the store and purchased them for the second time. WOW… never tasted anything quite like it. Almost like anise flavor. And numbs your mouth in an interesting way. Best recipe for Kung Pao ever. Can't wait to make again
I have made this several times with the peppercorns and while I do think it is a very interesting and delicious flavor, it is a bit much at times. Perhaps this is because of the size of the whole peppercorns? I have given some thought to smashing them up into smaller pieces or even grinding into a powder to more evenly disperse the flavor. Any thoughts on this? Thanks! I love it!!
asphyxia: Yes, it is better when the peppercorns are ground!
Paige Cassandra Flamm says
This looks incredible! We totally need to make this for dinner soon!
Lynette aka breezermom says
I made this today for lunch. I went to 3 stores and could not find the dried chilies. I had one on hand so I threw in some fresh serrano chiles and fresh red chile peppers. I also added some snow peas for a little bit more vegetable content. Turned out delicious! Beautiful too.
I love your Kung Pao chicken recipe. Just looking through it, you’ll know it’s delicious and flavorful; its colorful too! The kids loved it. Glad I had bought an authentic light soy sauce at Karman Foods, the taste is absolutely fantastic!
Dou Ban Jioang says
There is a glaring omission here. No Dou Ban Jiang is listed. ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED to make this dish. Dou Bang Jiang is a bean paste in chili oil. Anyone worth their salt includes this item in this dish. Don’t make it without it. Google Souped Up Recipes for a more legit recipe.