Kung Pao Chicken – Authentic Sichuan Recipe

by | Last updated Jul 18, 2020 | Published on Aug 20, 2017 | Chicken Recipe, Chinese Recipe, Recipe, Sichuan Recipe

Kung Pao Chicken is one of the world’s famous Chinese stir-fried chicken dish, almost everyone heard of this chicken dish. It is easy to cook, with just simple ingredients yet delivers a complex flavor that keeps you coming for more. I am sure that my Kung Pao Chicken recipe will not disappoint you!
Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Kung Pao Chicken, A Sichuan Treats

Some call it Gong Bao or Kung Po, but they are all the same dish – Gong Bao Ji Ding, a chicken dish which originated from Sichuan, China. A spicy stir-fried chicken with Sichuan peppercorn, chili peppers, peanuts, and vegetables. Believe it or not, the name Kung Pao was named after an official governor of Sichuan province during the Qing Dynasty, specifically, the official Ding Baozhen (1820 – 1886), where Ding means “small cube”. 

ding bao zhen

Ding Bao Zhen’s Statue

However, there is no detailed records of why this dish was named after him.

Types of Kung Pao Chicken

Well, according to Wiki, there are three variations of this dish, but I think there is one more variation that is not documented on Wiki, making my list to a total of four variations.

Sichuan Version

sichuan kung pao chicken

Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken

The original Kung Pao Chicken (is also the recipe that I will be sharing here) consist of marinated diced chicken stir-fried with Sichuan Peppercorn, chili peppers, dried chili, vegetables, and peanuts. While this dish does not fall into the numbing (mala) flavor category, the Sichuan Peppercorn is used just to balance the heat of the chilis.

They are dry and not saucy, but full of complex flavor from spices, hot, and salty.

Guizhou Version

guizhou kung pao chicken

Guizhou Kung Pao Chicken

In this version of Kung Pao chicken, the local Guizhou’s Ciba Chili paste is used, the chili peppers are as well flash-fried before the whole chicken dish is stir-fried. The rest of the ingredients are rather similar.

Slightly saucy due to the chili paste that was used, hot, spicy, and salty.

Western Version

kung pao chicken western

Western Kung Pao Chicken

Commonly known as Kung Po Chicken, is where the chicken is stir-fried with orange juice, ginger, garlic, sugar, oil, a mixture of vegetables, and starch. Instead of hot, the western version is more towards citrusy and sweet.

Due to local influence in western countries, sweet profile and saucy factors are added.

Malaysian Version

kung pao chicken malaysia

Malaysian Kung Pao Chicken

Lastly, the Malaysian version of Kung Pao Chicken is stir-fried chicken cubes with dried chili, black soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili sauce, and ginger. The flavor profile is towards sweet and spicy.

Malaysian loves black soy sauce, and sweet flavor. The local preferences have greatly influenced this dish.

Ingredients Substitute 

Some of the ingredients can be substituted with local ingredients from your region like;

  1. Chilies – I cannot take a lot of heat from the chili, hence I replace them with capsicum. But if you like hot and spicy, feel free to use your local chilies.
  2. Nuts – Instead of peanut, I replace them with cashew nuts, but you can use a lot more other options, say if you are allergic to peanut, you can use almond as a substitute.
  3. Chicken – I do believe you can try with beef (use tender beef parts) or fish, perhaps. For vegetarian options, use vegetarian soy meat, or seitan. 
  4. Sichuan Peppercorn – If you could not get your hands on them, simply skip this ingredient.

Author have a say…

A spicy stir-fry Sichuan recipe is also known as Gong Bao Chicken or Kung Po Chicken. The core ingredients for Kung Pao Chicken are Sichuan Peppercorn, dried chili, peanuts, chili peppers, and vegetables. A delicately complex spicy and lightly numbing dish!

Source  :  Wiki

Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken Recipe
Ethan Wong
Print Pin

5 from 1 vote

If you are looking to try the authentic Chinese Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken recipe, this is the recipe you wanna try. Complex and delicate spicy chicken with a light numbing sensation!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Difficulty Medium
Servings 3 people

Ingredients
 
 

To Marinate Chicken

  • 800 g Chicken Breast (skinless)
  • 1/3 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Shao Xing Wine (options - rice wine)
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 1 tbsp Plain Flour

To Stir Fry

  • 2 tbsp Sichuan Peppercorn
  • 1 handful Dried Chili
  • 100 g Leek (option - spring onion or scallion)
  • 1 pcs Red Capsicum (option - hot peppers)
  • 1 handful Cashew Nuts (option - peanut, almond, etc)
  • 100 g Green Beans
  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 6 tbsp Cooking Oil
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Instructions
 

To Marinate Chicken

  • Cut chicken breast into cubes.
  • Marinate with salt, water, and shao xing wine.
  • Add flour to mix.
  • Marinade as you proceed to other steps.

Preparation

  • Cut leek, capsicum, and green beans into bite-size.
  • Prepare other ingredients.

Cooking

  • Preheat a pan with cooking oil.
  • Sear chicken to brown edges.
  • Remove chicken and set aside.
  • With the oil still in the pan, add green beans, and cashew nuts and fry at low heat.
  • Once cashew nuts begin to brown, strain, and set aside.
  • Then add Sichuan peppercorn and dried chili. Stir-fry at low heat to aromatic fragrance.
  • Add leek and thoroughly stir-fry.
  • Add seared chicken and green beans.
  • Switch to high heat and stir-fry.
  • Add soy sauce and salt. Continue stir-frying to mix.
  • Add cashew nut and continue stir-frying.
  • Pour shao xing wine in, briefly stir it and remove from heat.
  • Plate and serve.

Video

Notes

Tips

  1. Green beans tend to wrinkle if we fried them with oil that is too hot. So fried them at low heat to prevent them from wrinkling. I learn this from a Master Cantonese chef, credits to Chef Ming from Guangzhou.
  2. The level of hotness or heat of this dish is flexible, depending on the type of chili/pepper used. Use the chili/pepper of your choice to suits your personal preference.
  3. Stir-frying is a quick-cooking techniques. However, if you are inexperienced with stir-frying, practice by switching on and off the fire until you get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect!

Nutrition

Calories : 658kcalCarbohydrates : 13gProtein : 61gFat : 40gSaturated Fat : 4gCholesterol : 171mgSodium : 1689mgPotassium : 1196mgFiber : 2gSugar : 3gVitamin A : 954IUVitamin C : 12mgCalcium : 49mgIron : 3mg
Allergy : Peanuts
*These Nutritional Values have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration
Keyword Chicken, Chicken Chili and garlic, Gong Bao Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken, Kung Po Chicken

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Ethan Wong

Hey, thanks for dropping by.
I curate recipes at the weekend, otherwise, on the weekdays I spend time hunting for stuff at YS. Oh yeah, I spend my break time learning to code.
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