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Homemade Chinese Kung Pao Chicken

Forget takeaways, try the irresistible Kung Pao Chicken stir-fry, which consists of crispy chicken, peppers and peanuts combined in a sticky sauce rich in Sichuan peppercorns.

June 28, 2021
Kung Pao ChickenPhoto By Canva
Difficulty Easy
Servings 4 people
Preparation 20 mins
Cooking 20 mins
Total 40 mins



Kung Pao Sauce

  1. In a bowl combine 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 2 tbsp of Chinese black vinegar, 2 tbsp caster sugar, 1 tbsp cornstarch and ½ cup of water.
  2. Whisk the ingredients together into a thick, smooth sauce then set aside.

Kung Pao Chicken

  1. Into a mixing bowl add the diced chicken thigh, onion powder, cornstarch and salt, toss to coat the chicken well.
  2. Place a saute pan or wok on medium heat and add two tablespoons of canola oil.
  3. Once the oil is hot, add the coated chicken and fry for 5 minutes until golden and crispy.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate lined with towel paper.
  5. To the same pan add the dried chillies and sichuan peppercorns, cook for 1 minute to toast.
  6. Then add the garlic, ginger, bell peppers and scallions to the pan, cook for 3 minutes.
  7. Pour the Kung Pao sauce into the saute pan and stir through the ingredients for 2 minutes to thicken.
  8. Next add the crispy Pao chicken back to the pan and bring the ingredients together.
  9. Serve the Kung Pao chicken over steamed rice and top with chopped peanuts.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Kung Pao Chicken
Serves 4
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11.1 g14.2%
Sodium 499 mg21.7%
Protein 3 g6%
Potassium 448 mg9.5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


  • As the Chinese black vinegar is a specialty ingredient for most kitchens it can easily be replaced with the more common balsamic vinegar or rice wine vinegar. Balsamic vinegar provides a thick, sweetness which is similar to the malty, mildly acidic and sweet notes of Chinese black vinegar.
  • For our version of Kung Pao chicken we have opted for chicken thighs for their flavour and tenderness. If preferred then chicken breasts can be substituted or the process of velveting chicken can be used which is explained below.
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A popular Chinese Cuisine classic which is guaranteed to be on all restaurant menus for good reason! The dish is filled with tender chicken thighs which are stir-fried until crisp then mixed with crunchy peppers, scallions and peanuts. Kung Pao chicken takes its distinctive flavour from Sichuan peppercorns, dried chillies and an intense sauce to make the whole dish sing. The stir-fried cooking process is very quick with dinner on the table in less than 45 minutes so try our recipe today and truly discover what is kung pao chicken.

What Is Kung Pao Chicken?

The dish is a favourite and yet many do not know what is in kung pao chicken? There are many variations with the classic ingredients including sichuan peppercorns, diced chicken, peanuts, peppers and chilli peppers. The kung pao chicken recipe is stir-fried with a warm spice from the layers of chilli within the dish.

What Is The Difference Between Kung Pao Chicken And General Tso’s Chicken?

Kung pao chicken and General Tso’s chicken are both iconic dishes served at Chinese restaurants throughout the west. The main differences between the two dishes is that General Tso’s chicken is breaded and deep-fried whereas Kung Pao chicken is stir-fried with the addition of sichuan peppercorns, peanuts and vegetables.

Kung Pao chicken, also known as Gong Bao or Kung Po, originates in Sichuan Province of south-western China and has then been adapted for western palates. It is believed that the current version of General Tso’s chicken is from the United States. The dish was first prepared for American Navy Seals in Taiwan, made of deep-fried chicken leg served with ginger, garlic, soy sauce, dried chillies and vinegar. Once General Tso’s chicken reached America it was then adapted with the addition of sugar to create a sweet sticky sauce and exploded in popularity to become a favourite of American-Chinese food.

What Is Kung Pao Chicken Sauce Made Of?

The common ingredients within Kung Pao sauce are garlic, Chinese black vinegar, sugar and soy sauce with variations that include hoisin sauce or black bean chilli paste.

Is Kung Pao Chicken Bad For You?

From a selection of dishes at a Chinese restaurant Kung Pao chicken is a healthier option as it contains vegetables and protein with the healthy addition of nuts. The dish is high in sodium due to soy sauce and peanuts within the recipe however these ingredients can be managed to suit your dietary needs when following our Kung Pao Chicken recipe at home.

How To Chinese Restaurants Make Chicken So Tender?

Velveting chicken is a standard practice in Chinese cooking to tenderise meat. In a bowl combine 10 oz sliced chicken breast and one teaspoon of baking soda, stir the baking soda into the meat and allow it to marinate for 20 minutes. The chicken should then be rinsed under cold water and dried with kitchen paper. The baking soda acts to tenderise the fibres within the chicken breast and results in a softer, velvet texture.

Can You Eat Kung Pao Chicken On Keto?

Traditionally Kung Pao chicken contains high amounts of soy sauce and cornstarch within the sauce and coating for the chicken. The dish is also classically served with rice or noodles, these products mean that most restaurant or shop-bought kung pao chicken dishes are not keto. A homemade kung pao chicken recipe can easily become keto with the substitution of tamari or coconut aminos which are both gluten free. The sauce can be reduced rather than thickened with cornstarch and the dish can be served with vegetables instead of carb-heavy starches.

How To Serve Kung Pao Chicken?

Here are some recipes you can serve with Kung Pao Chicken:

Recipe byPetite Gourmets

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