Easy and everyone's favorite Kung Pao Chicken is the best Chinese American recipe. Sweet and Spicy Chicken tossed in a Kung Pao Sauce along with fried Veggies and Toasted Peanuts makes for a perfect dinner recipe when served with a humble bowl of rice. This is seriously the best Asian recipe for dinner.
Kung Pao Chicken is our favorite Asian recipe for dinner. It's easy to make and the flavors are off the charts.
Although it's so widely available in every restaurant these days, there is something so fun in making this at home..!
What is Kung Pao Chicken?
Kung Pao Chicken is an authentic Sichuan recipe that originated in the 19th century. This has humongous popularity and is loved by everyone for its sweet and spicy taste.
Kung Pao Chicken is basically Chicken Breasts cooked until crispy and then tossed with veggies, and toasted peanuts in a Kung Pao Sauce.
The Kung Pao Sauce is actually really simple and mainly consists of Sugar, Soy Sauce, Cooking Wine, and Rice Vinegar.
Kung Pao Chicken is a widely popular Asian American recipe for dinner. However, did you know that this is an authentic Sichuan recipe?
Sichuan is a region in the southwest of China and the Sichuan recipe is known to be very spicy. This recipe originated from there and has traveled all over the world and has got many variations based on individual choices.
You can learn more about Kung Pao Chicken here.
The Origin of Kung Pao Chicken
The story dates back to the 19th century. In the Guizhou province of South Western China, Ding Baozhen a young boy was once drowning in a river because he didn't know how to swim. Then a local came to the young boy's rescue. His name was Gongbao Jiding.
Years later the Young boy got a government job in Sichuan province. And then he came back to Gongbao Jiding, to thank him. He made this Dish where he tossed Chicken with sauce and veggies and served it to Ding Baozhen.
He loved it so much that he learned the recipe and started selling it in the name of Gongbao Jiding in Sichuan. Slowly it got so popular and started being widely made all over China and then in America.
Today, Kung Pao Chicken is equally popular in Chia as it is popular in America. However, Chicken is not widely consumed in China. It's generally imported from Japan.
kung pao chicken vs szechuan chicken
Szechuan Chicken is slightly spicier than Kung pao chicken this is because of Szechuan sauce. However you also get a sweet sensation. But, in my opinion Hunan chicken is the spiciest of all, this is because it uses Sambal Olek which is fresh chili paste.
Although both the recipes use sichuan peppercorns and dried red peppers but it is this szechuan sauce that changes the game.
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What does Kung Pao Chicken Taste like?
Kung Pao Chicken has a sweet and sour taste to it. The sweetness because of sugar is very distinct. Also, the spicy taste because of Sichuan Peppers and Dried Red Peppers is evident. You also get a nutty taste for this Kung Pao Chicken because of Toasted Sesame Oil and Toasted Peanuts.
What is Kung Pao Sauce made of?
It might sound too simple, but the Kung Pao Sauce is made of Sugar, Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar, and Cooking Wine or Chinese Shaoxing wine.
What is the difference between Kung Pao Chicken and General Tso's Chicken?
The big difference between General Tso's Chicken or any other Chinese Chicken for that matter and Kung Pao Chicken is that in the latter Breading is not used. While in the majority of Chinese or Asian recipes, Chicken is breaded with a coating of Cornstarch and Eggs and fried until crispy.
Kung Pao is so much easier. You just toss Chicken with the veggies and the sauce and it's done!
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- What is Kung Pao Chicken?
- The Origin of Kung Pao Chicken
- kung pao chicken vs szechuan chicken
- What does Kung Pao Chicken Taste like?
- What is Kung Pao Sauce made of?
- What is the difference between Kung Pao Chicken and General Tso's Chicken?
- Kung pao chicken, panda express recipe
- What is Kung pao cooking style
- Kung Pao Chicken
- Chicken Breast
- Soy Sauce
- Rice Wine Vinegar
- Sesame Oil (for frying)
FOR THE SAUCE
- Soy Sauce
- Rice Wine Vinegar
- Cooking Wine
- Sichuan Peppers
- Dried Red Peppers
- Sesame Oil
- Garlic (minced)
- Green onions (chopped)
- Bell Pepper (Chopped)
See the recipe card for quantities. Also, watch the video for a quick visual.
Kung pao chicken, panda express recipe
Well, well, well. There's a lot of hype about authentic Panda express Kung pao chicken. Although, they don't tell their recipe. But here is me trying to replicate that through my own touch.
STEP 1: Marinate the Chicken
- Toss the chicken pieces with Cornstarch, Soy Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar and Sesame Oil
- Refrigerate for 10 minutes
STEP 2: Make Kung Pao Sauce
- Whisk together Sugar, Soy Sauce, Cooking Wine and Rice Vinegar in a mixing jar. Keep it aside.
STEP 3: Cook the Veggies
- Heat Sesame Oil in a Wok
- Add the dried Red Peppers, Sichuan Peppercorns and minced Garlic. Saute until fragrant.
- Add the Chicken and cook over high heat for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken gets crispy.
- Add the Bell Peppers and chopped Green Onions. Toss to combine
- Pour the Kung Pao Sauce and toss until combined
STEP 4: Garnish and Serve
- Garnish with toasted Peanuts and serve.
Remember that you want to cook this entire recipe in a wok with the heat on high. Chinese recipes are always supposed to be cooked on high heat.
Hint: I like to keep the heat high all the while. Also, prep your ingredients in advance so that you have nothing which gets burned up while you're busy prepping and the heat is stuck on high.
- Cashew Nuts - instead of Peanuts, use Cashew Nuts. You can toas them lightly and then use them.
- Bell Pepper - use all three colors or Bell Pepper or any color you love.
- Vegetarian - Make Vegetarian Kung Pao by skipping the chicken and adding veggies of your choice. Just skip the chicken marinating part.
- Shrimp or Beef - You can use Shrimp for a wonderful seafood kung pao or use Beef to make Kung Pao Beef.
- Spicy - This Kung Pao Chicken is spossed to be very light and mild. However, if you like it spoicy, you can add some Cayenne Pepper or Red Pepper flakes in the sauce.
You can store this Kung Pao Chicken in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Also, you can freeze this for 3 months. I like to freeze this in an air-tight container so that it becomes easy to reheat.
You can also make this recipe ahead of time. Just make the Kung Pao Sauce and refrigerate it. Just pour it over the sauteed Chicken and Veggies when you're making the recipe.
What is Kung pao cooking style
Kung Pao is basically a cooking technique where the protein - shrimp, chicken or tofu is deep fried and then served in a sweet and lightly spicy sauce.
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TO MARINATE THE CHICKEN
- 1 lbs Chicken breast diced to 1 inch cubes
- ¼ cup Cornstarch
- 1½ teaspoon Soy Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar
- 2 tablespoon Sesame Oil for frying
FOR THE KUNG PAO SAUCE
- ½ cup Granulated Sugar
- 1½ teaspoon Soy Sauce
- 2 teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar
- 2 teaspoon Cooking Wine
- 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
- 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
TO COOK THE VEGGIES
- 1 teaspoon Sichuan Peppercorns
- 5-6 dried Red Peppers chopped
- 4-5 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 CUP Chopped Bell Peppers any color
- 1 CUP Chopped Green Onions
- ½ CUP Toasted Peanuts for garnish
- Pour All the ingredients to marinate the chicken in a bowl. Toss to combine with the chicken. Refrigerate covered for 10-15 minutes
- Pour all the ingredients to make Kung Pao Sauce in a mixing jar. Whisk until combined and keep it aside.
- Heat Sesame Oil in a Wok. As the oil shimmers, add the Dried Red Pepper Flakes, Sichuan Peppercorns, and Minced Garlic. Saute until fragrant. Add the Marinated Chicken to the wok and cook over high heat for 5-10 minutes tossing occasionally.
- Throw the chopped Bell Pepper and chopped Green Onions into the wok. Toss to combine. Cook over high heat for 5-7 minutes.
- Garnish with toasted Peanuts and serve immediately with a bowl of rice.