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 over rice or noodles!
Option: Replace the light and dark soy sauce with the soy sauce that you have access to 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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