Kung Pao Chicken

My aunt has this awesome recipe for Kung Pao Chicken which is found in her Yan Kit’s Classic Chinese Cookbook. It’s fairly easy and quick to put together and most (if not all) of the ingredients are readily available from your local market. The key is to not overcook the chicken. Moist is what we are after.

My aunt adds a small handful of roasted peanuts at the end but I left them out.

12oz-16oz chicken breast

2 tbsp canola oil

3 to 5 fresh chilies, split in half or 2 or 3 dried red chilies.

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

4 to 6 thin slices fresh ginger

1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine

2-3 green onions, cut into small rounds


1/3 tsp salt

2 tsp light soy sauce

2 tsp Chinese cooking wine

1 tsp cornstarch


1 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 or 2 tbsp chili sauce

2 tsp rice (or white wine) vinegar

2 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

6 tbsp chicken stock

Prepare the chicken breast. Cut into decent sized strips.

Then cut into cubes and put in a bowl.

Add salt to the chicken.

Add the Chinese cooking wine.

Add the soy sauce.

Finally add the cornstarch.

Mix well and let marinade 15-20 minutes.  If you leave it longer that’s ok. I had to wait a good hour because I had prepared everything but had to wait until we got the kids down before I could cook.

Prepare the sauce by mixing together the soy sauce, chili sauce (I used a little over 1 tbsp), rice vinegar, sugar, cornstarch and stock (I used some turkey stock I had in the fridge).

Mix all sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Cut off stem and then slice chilies lengthwise. I kept seeds and all. You might notice from the image below that I have gloves on. I learned my lesson where, one time,  I didn’t use gloves when handling chilies. A good two or three hours later I had to rub my eyes and let’s just say I’ve never been in so much pain.

Slice garlic cloves.

I forgot to take a picture of it but slice a fresh piece of ginger into 4-6 thin pieces.

Cut green onion into small rounds.

Now that everything is prepped, let’s get cooking!

Heat a wok over high heat and add a swirl or two of oil.

Add the chilies, stir and then add the garlic and ginger slices. Stir-fry a few seconds to release their aroma.

Quickly add the chicken and stir-fry for a good minute.

Splash in some extra Chinese cooking wine while stirring and tossing continuously.

Add the green onion and continue to stir-fry for a minute or so. The chicken should be almost done.

Add the well mixed sauce to the chicken and continue to stir while it thickens. Turn down the heat a bit if bubbles too fast. If you’ve added too much cornstarch it may become too thick very quickly.

The sauce should coat the chicken nicely.

Transfer chicken to a serving plate and serve immediately.

The chicken was  moist and had a real kick to it from the chilies and chili sauce. Just the way I wanted it. Next time I may play around with the level of spiciness but otherwise wouldn’t change a thing.


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