Asian Delight: Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

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4.9 stars from 7 ratings of Kung Pao Chicken

Delicious Kung Pao Chicken

Source
Source

What is Kung Pao Chicken?

The first time when I had first tasted Kung Pao Chicken dish was at a Chinese restaurant that serves local Chinese dishes and popular stir fries noodles; Chow Mien.

At first glance, I thought Kung Pao Chicken was an extremely spicy dish due to enormous usage of dried red chillies which gave me goosebumps.

However, I was surprised that it wasn't that spicy, just mild spicy with a mixture of black sauce thick gravy which gave the chicken an aromatic flavor.

Hence, I started to search through several websites for this particular chicken dish but there are many versions, from Chinese to Asians and Westerns.

Alas, I realized that the secret to each country's Kung Pao Chicken depends mainly on the sauce, Kung Pao sauce.

Kung Pao Chicken is a mild spicy stir fry chicken dish, a mixture of chicken meats, toasted cashew nuts or peanuts but I had used a block of firm tofu for more protein.

Most restaurants serve Kung Pao Chicken without vegetables but with toasted cashew nuts and generous douse of dried red chillies with seeds! That was extremely spicy for kids and even some adults.

The original recipe of this chicken dish calls for a unique ingredient; Szechuan peppercorns which give lemon cum pepper tangy flavor but you could hardly find this anywhere in Asia. Hence, most people exclude this peppercorn and replace it with more dried red chillies instead.

If you are looking for a mild spicy chicken recipe for dinner, you should try our Asian famous Chinese Kung Pao Chicken that is commonly consumed in Western and Asian countries, all over the world.

Some people called it :

  • Gong Bao Chicken
  • Kung Po Chicken
  • Kung Bao Chicken
  • Spicy Black Sauce Chicken

Whatever it is being named, this is the BEST chicken dish that I had ever tasted!


Ding Baozhen

A late governor of Sichuan province in China
A late governor of Sichuan province in China | Source

Brief history of Kung Bao Chicken

Generally, this chicken dish called Kung Pao Chicken is a stir fry chicken recipe mixed with toasted peanuts, chopped vegetables ( green peppers ) and red chilli peppers with spicy sauce.

The original dish was created in Sichuan Province of China which included Sichuan peppercorns but nowadays, we don't use this ingredient anymore.

According to the China history, Kung Pao Chicken was named after a late Qing Dynasty official' "Ding Baozhen" who was also a governor of Sichuan Province.

At that time, he was given the status as "Gongbao" which means the Palace Guardian who guards and protects the palace from harm.

That is how Kung Pao Chicken was created. Mr Ding must had loved this dish so much that the chef had named it after him.



Kung Pao Homemade Sauce

Original homemade Kung Pao sauce
Original homemade Kung Pao sauce | Source

The Secret recipe is the SAUCE !

Generally, Kung Bao Chicken is a traditional dish found in Sichuan Province in China. This chicken recipes is a stir fried version, a mild spicy sauces with combination of diced chicken, roasted peanuts, chopped vegetables, red chilli peppers and black vinegar.

There are many types of Kung Bao Chicken all over the world.

Here are the examples of the ingredients used for different countries:

Western countries: diced marinated chicken stir-fried with orange or orange juice, ginger, garlic, chicken broth, sugar, cooking oil, corn starch, and salt and pepper to taste.

Thailand: Diced chicken with fish sauce and sweet soy sauce.

Malaysia: Diced or slices of chicken with roasted cashews nuts or tofu cubes, mixed with dark sauce, Chinese wine and black vinegar.

China: Diced chicken with roasted peanuts, vegetables and Sichuan pepper corns, combine with Shaoxing wine, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar.

In this recipe, I prefer to use my homemade Kung Pao sauce which are mainly the combination of these sauces:


Homemade Kung Pao Sauce

1.5 tbsp corn starch

1 tsp dark soysauce

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp black vinegar

2 tbsp water

1 tsp corn starch

1/2 rice bowl water

This is excellent tasting mild but not wimpy vinegar. I have tried it with soba noodles dressed with soy sauce, toasted sesame oil,
and a few drops of Sriracha Chili Sauce. Adding the black vinegar really rounded out the flavor and I'll be making this my new standard.
I made a wonderful salad dressing usiThis is excellent tasting mild but not wimpy vinegar. I have tried it with soba noodles dressed with soy sauce, toasted sesame oil,
and a few drops of Sriracha Chili Sauce. Adding the black vinegar really rounded out the flavor and I'll be making this my new standard.
I made a wonderful salad dressing using this as a base with olive oil , herbs, and garlic. The black vinegar seemed to give a less overpowering sharp vinegary flavor to the dressing and let the garlic and herb taste come through.
I can't wait to try this in a marinade!
You should have this vinegar in your kitchen! You will find many uses for it.ng this as a base with olive oil , herbs, and garlic. The black vinegar seemed to give a less overpowering sharp vinegary flavor to the dressing and let the garlic and herb taste come through.
I can't wait to try this in a marinade!
You should have this vinegar in your kitchen! You will find many uses for it.

Dried Red Chillies

Dried chillies, remember to remove the seeds, otherwise you will be on FIRE!
Dried chillies, remember to remove the seeds, otherwise you will be on FIRE! | Source

You can buy dried red chillies in supermaket or grocery store. A large packet of this red peppers could last a few months or maybe a year if you store them in dry place or in the fridge.

I love the spicy smell and flavor, great for blending with "sambal"-spicy paste and I used them often for chicken dish such as Kung Bao Chicken.

In addition, it is easy to remove the dry seeds, lightly scrape off them after making a slit. It doesn't burn my fingers either.


Best Thai Dried Red Chillies

How to clean dry chillies

Stir Fry Kung Pao Chicken

Delicious, mild spicy General Tso's Chicken
Delicious, mild spicy General Tso's Chicken | Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 25 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: 3-4 persons

Marinate Sauce ( For the chicken )

  • 1 tbsp corn starch ( corn flour )
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinese wine ( cooking wine )

Homemade Kung Pao Sauce

Main Ingredients

  • 3pcs drumsticks, cut into convenient pieces
  • 1 pc firm white beancurd, cut into cubes, prefried
  • 8-12 pcs dried red chillies, deseeded, cut into halves
  • 5 slices young ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, slices

Kung Pao Sauce

Mix together:

  • 1.5 tbs light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp black vinegar
  • 1 tsp corn starch ( corn flour )
  • 1/2 small bowl water

Drumsticks

You can chicken keel, breast , fillets or chicken cubes.
You can chicken keel, breast , fillets or chicken cubes. | Source

Ginger, Garlic, Onions

These are the main ingredients that you need to prepare for every dish
These are the main ingredients that you need to prepare for every dish | Source

White firm beancurd

Instead of using toasted peanuts, I tried a block of firm tofu for more protein
Instead of using toasted peanuts, I tried a block of firm tofu for more protein | Source

Scallions

If you are out of tofu , replace it with scallions or any vegetables available
If you are out of tofu , replace it with scallions or any vegetables available | Source

Optional Choices:

You can substitute tofu cubes with any of these ingredients:

  • cashew nuts
  • green pepper bells
  • scallions
  • roasted peanuts
  • spring onions

How to cook Kung Pao Chicken Dish

Marinate chicken for 30 minutes or an hour
Marinate chicken for 30 minutes or an hour | Source

Marinate the chicken

  1. Cut drumsticks into convenient pieces. Otherwise, you can use chicken fillet or cubes too. Marinate the chicken pieces with cornstarch, soy sauce and Chinese wine for 30 minutes. If you have time, marinate an hour before cooking time.

Garlic, Ginger and Onions

Onions, slices of ginger and garlic
Onions, slices of ginger and garlic | Source
  • Chop up the garlic and onions into small pieces.
  • You can use a Slap Chop for quicker process.
  • Cut the ginger into 5 slices.
  • You need not peel off the skin.

Coat the tofu cubes

Coat each tofu cubes with flour.
Coat each tofu cubes with flour. | Source
  • Pat dry firm white tofu and cut into cubes.
  • Coat each cube with corn starch.
  • Heat up wok with sufficient hot oil and deep fry the tofu cubes until crisp.
  • Remove from wok.
  • Use kitchen paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  • Set aside.

Frying tofu cubes

Use more oil to deep fry tofu cubes
Use more oil to deep fry tofu cubes | Source

Tips and tricks how to fry tofu cubes

  • If you have a deep fryer, it will be quicker to deep fry tofu cubes.
  • I don't own one, so a wok will do.
  • Remember to pour more oil into the wok and leave it to warm up.
  • Make sure each tofu cubes are well coated with corn flour.
  • Put in one tofu cube at a time.
  • Do not toss in everything as the tofu will smash up.
  • Separate the tofu cubes so that it doesn't stick to each other.

Let's start cooking!

Quick stir fry

sauté onions, garlic and ginger with little oil
sauté onions, garlic and ginger with little oil | Source
  • Pour in 1 tbs of oil into the wok.
  • Toss in the chopped garlic, onions and ginger into the wok.
  • Sauté until aromatic.

Add in the marinated chicken

Nicely colored
Nicely colored | Source
  • Add in the marinated chicken and stir fry for a few minutes.
  • Ensure that the chicken parts are well combined with the garlic, onions and ginger.


Add in the Dried Chillies and Kung Pao Sauce

Source

Too dry? Pour in the water

  • When the chicken is semi-cooked, add in the dried chillies and Kung Pao Sauce mixture into the dish.
  • Add in 1/2 small bowl of water to allow the sauce to absorb into the chicken parts.
  • Allow the Kung Bao Chicken to simmer for 15 minutes under medium fire.
  • Add in pre-fried tofu cubes and stir well.
  • Simmer until the gravy thickens and reduced.

Ready to eat Kung Pao Chicken

Source

© 2015 peachy

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Comments 48 comments

Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 21 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

I love Kung Pao chicken. Now, with your recipe I can make my own instead of running out to a Chinese fast food. Thanks, Peachy !


SandyMertens profile image

SandyMertens 21 months ago from Frozen Tundra

This recipe looks really good. I will have to try it.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 21 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

Thanks phyllis, I am sure you will enjoy this mild spicy dish. You can add in the dried red chillies with seeds if you dare to try spicy taste

Thanks sandy, do try to let me know


MsDora profile image

MsDora 21 months ago from The Caribbean

I like that you give different versions, offering us alternatives. Thanks you for such good work--instructions and pictures.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 21 months ago from United States

I love this dish, and your instructions make it seem like it wouldn't be too difficult to do. Thanks for sharing!


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 21 months ago from Germany

I don´t think I have tried this kind of chicken meal. This sounds yummy. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I have to try this. I have to find black vinegar first as I have not seen black vinegar in my life. I have to go to the Asian shop.


sheilamarie78 profile image

sheilamarie78 21 months ago

This chicken dish sounds delicious! Thanks for the recipe. Useful!


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 21 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

thanks sheilamarie78, i am sure you will like this kung pao chicken for dinner'

Thanks thelma, yes black vinegar you can find in hypermarket

thanks the dirt farmer, glad that my instructions are clear

thanks msdora, indeed there are many versions available, cheers


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 21 months ago from USA

I like that you gave various versions, and I have never seen instructions for frying tofu so that is an added bonus. Looks good! Great description and details.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 21 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

thanks flourish, you will find that tofu is better than cashew


misterhollywood profile image

misterhollywood 21 months ago from Hollywood, CA

This was an amazing hub and I really liked the easy to understand instructions!


DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 21 months ago from The Beach of Brazil

Kung Pao chicken here in Brasil is modified for Brazilian tastes; I like how you have the variations for each country. They all look worthwhile trying! Thanks.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 21 months ago from America

This sounds so good. Your photos are great. Voted up


Au fait profile image

Au fait 21 months ago from North Texas

Looks and sounds very interesting. I do love to try new foods!


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 20 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

thanks aufait

I am sure you will love it


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 20 months ago from Minnesota

I stir-fry at least once a week and can't wait to try this recipe. I will substitute Scallions for the tofu. My family aren't fans of tofu. I really appreciate this delicious recipe and plan to try it this week. Hit many buttons and voted up.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 20 months ago from Shelton

tell you it doesn't look easy, but looks so good, and thanks for the back ground research.. this was more than just a recipe.. bless yo


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 20 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

thanks minnetonka, appreciated for the buttons and votes, yes you can try the scallions

thanks frank, do try, it doesn't look that hard when you try. Trust me


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 20 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Peach, this looks delicious and easy enough to make, though I'm not a chili or spicy sauce fan. Voted up for awesome!


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 20 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

thanks kristien, maybe you should try, not really that spicy, cheers


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 20 months ago from New Delhi, India

This sounds delicious and different from the way I normally cook chicken. I would like to try this for sure.

A very well presented hub and thanks for sharing the details! Voted up!


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 20 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

thanks chitrangadasharan, i am sure you will like this dish


Rachel L Alba profile image

Rachel L Alba 20 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

Hi Peachy, My family loves Chinese food so I will have to try this dish on them. I'm sure they will love it.

Blessings to you.


thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 20 months ago from India

Hi Thanks for sharing this recipe.

My children are chicken lovers

This is very valuable to me


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 20 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

thanks rachel, thumbiz

Chinese food is versatile, I love chicken dishes too


billybuc profile image

billybuc 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

The title of this article has the magic word in it....chicken. I think chicken is my dietary staple, so thank you for the recipe.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 20 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

thanks billybuc, yup chicken the magic word that everyone can accept


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 20 months ago from Houston, Texas

Your photos are making me hungry for this dish and I just got up and have not even had my breakfast yet. This looks and sounds delicious! 5 stars, up votes and happy to share.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 20 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

thank peggy, love the stars and votes, yes delicious, great for your hunger pangs


Indian Chef profile image

Indian Chef 20 months ago from New Delhi India

I also put up a recipe of Kung pao chicken but I find yours if lot better than mine.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 20 months ago from California

This looks really tasty --but I might go for a shrimp version of it


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 20 months ago from sunny Florida

O this is a favorite of my grandson, Jay. He will be thrilled if I can make it taste as good as yours looks.

Thanks for the photos and explicit directions. Voted up+++

Angels are on the way this evening ps


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 20 months ago from The Beautiful South

Mm yum; I will put a follow on this to come back and copy it! Thanks for sharing!


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 19 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

.thanks..i am sure you will love this, next will be baked potatoes


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 19 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

Thanks i am sure you will love this chicken recipe


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 19 months ago from Peru, South America

Kung Pao is one of my husband's favorites. I didn't realize there are so many versions. The history was interesting, too. Thank you for sharing your recipe! I hope to try it soon.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 19 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

thanks vespawoolf, Glad that you like asian food


midget38 profile image

midget38 18 months ago from Singapore

Ok, so I am frying this up tomorrow. Another to add to my list!


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 18 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

thanks midget38, let me know how it turns out


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 14 months ago from Sunny Florida

I love Kung Pao chicken. I can't wait to try this recipe. It sounds and looks so delicious.


Taki Minase profile image

Taki Minase 12 months ago from Manila, Philippines

wow, as a spicy food lover I must try this, time find that black vinegar in the grocery.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 12 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

http://hubpages.com/@koffeeklatchgals thanks, you gotta try it out

http://hubpages.com/@takiminase if you can't find black vinegar, forget about it


Besarien profile image

Besarien 12 months ago

Thanks for the history lesson and your variation on one of my favorite dishes! I'm making this (hopefully tomorrow) as soon as I get some fresh ginger root and black vinegar. Will let you know what I think!


anonymous 11 months ago

http://hubpages.com/@besarien thanks, I am sure you will enjoy this dish


gonews profile image

gonews 11 months ago from NY

Asian food was tasty .. i like it's


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 11 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

http://hubpages.com/@gonews thanks, enjoy please


Margie Lynn profile image

Margie Lynn 7 months ago from Beautiful Texas Hill Country

What an awesome article, this looks so delicious, I will be trying it soon. Thanks for sharing!


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 6 months ago from Home Sweet Home Author

http://hubpages.com/@margielynn

i am glad to hear that, you will enjoy this dish for sure

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