Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao, Kung Po or Gung Po Chicken is a popular Chinese Sichuan dish which consists of small chicken cubes, mixed vegetables, peanuts, Chinese cooking wine and the key ingredient Sichuan peppercorns and you need to use lots of them.  Coming from the Sichuan province which is known for their spicy dishes because of their peppercorns, this dish is prepared in such a way it’s not just hot and spicy but it will leave you that numbing sensation.

Kung Pao was named after Ding Baozhen which is an official of the Qing Dynasty which became the governor of the Sichuan province around the mid 1800’s.  Kung Pao was his title which is translated as palatial guardian.

Now for this recipe I will not use the Sichuan peppercorns as I don’t know where to find them, instead will be using cayenne pepper to achieve the spiciness we are after.  So if you love spicy dishes you should try this out.


700g boneless chicken thighs, cubed
3 tsp soy sauce
1/2 cup Chinese cooking wine
3 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp cornstarch
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 spring onions, chopped
1 carrot, julienned
peanut oil
1 tbsp cayenne pepper (use less if you don’t want it to spicy)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts


  1. Marinate chicken in 3 tsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine, 2 tsp sesame oil and 2 tsp cornstarch for at least an hour.
  2. Heat the wok then add peanut oil, add chicken and quickly stir fry in high heat for a minute.  Remove chicken then set aside.
  3. Using the same wok add more peanut oil if needed then sauté garlic and cayenne pepper, put in high heat then add the carrots and chicken.
  4. Add the remaining Chinese wine, dark soy sauce, brown sugar and peanuts.  Bring to a rapid boil then stir in spring onions.
  5. Remove from heat then drizzle sesame oil on top.

17 Responses

  1. kiwidutch says:

    Wow, I saw the photo, read the ingredient list and asked Hubby to print it out right away as I’d love this for dinner SOON!
    I will report back as soon as we have made it as I’m just drooling over this recipe. Do I have to find Chinese wine or will regular white wine do please?

  2. Awesome. Recently I had Kung Pao Chicken at a restaurant. I was disappointed – the dish didn’t have peanuts. Its good your recipe does.

  3. purplebirdblog says:

    I love the way the peanuts really make the flavors pop!

  4. Yudith says:

    I have been looking for a KP chicken recipe. I have to see if I can find Chinese cooking wine at my local store. Thanks for posting 🙂

  5. boogie. says:

    that looks so yummy… I just wanna spoon the sauce & taste it!!!

  6. Yum…and the numbing sensation of this dish is what you want! Great photo – makes me want to eat it !

  7. laura says:

    is dark soy sauce necessary? could i just use more regular soy sauce? looks D-lish! bookmarked with my cookmarked.com account!

    • rsmacaalay says:

      The dark soy sauce adds to the colour and its not as salty as the regular one, it has some distinct taste as well but yes you can use the regular one but not as much as the dark soy.

  8. Budji3 says:

    Found you in Tasteologie…. This recipe beats the ready-made Kung Pao chicken sauce I buy in my small local grocery here in QC. I used to mix the ready-made sauce with “Happy” peanut brand. The taste is really bad. Will try your recipe.
    Interesting story on the history of Kung Pao… I always thought its the ‘father’ of Sio Pao (Xiao: small)… ‘Kung’ as in ‘angkong’ (lolo)??? ahahahahahah my funny story assumptions. Great food blog!

  9. ToddCo says:

    I want to try this – sounds really delicious and not that difficult. Does it have to be thighs?

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