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Kung Pao Chicken


Salty, sweet and spicy Kung Pao Chicken is a very popular Chinese stir-fry dish. Bite sized pieces of chicken are fried in a chili, garlic and ginger infused oil and then coated with a flavourful sticky sauce. And then just before the end, this dish is tossed with some roasted peanuts and spring onion.

Traditionally, Sichuan/Szechuan peppercorns are a very vital ingredient of this Kung Pao Chicken. The oil is flavoured with this numbing spice and dried red chilies before sauteing the chicken in it. But one, I assumed that not everyone will be able to get their hands on this ingredient. And two, we Pakistanis have our own version of Chinese food which is not even close to the authentic one. Although if you do have Sichuan peppercorns I recommend adding a tablespoon when you are frying the red chilies.

So let's get on to the recipe because this dish is incredibly irresistible.

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g boneless chicken (cut into 2 cm cubes)
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 5-8 dried red chilies (broken up in small pieces)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp ginger (minced)
  • 1/2 - 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup cornflour slurry (2 tbsp cornflour mixed with 4 tbsp water)
  • 3-4 stalks spring onion (green and white parts sliced separately)
FOR THE MARINADE
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp or to taste salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
FOR THE SAUCE
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Marinate chicken in all the mentioned ingredients for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the sauce and keep aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a pan and on high heat add the red chilies. Stir fry for 30 seconds then add the ginger and garlic. Don't brown just cook for a minute until they loose their rawness.
  4. Now throw in the chicken and fry.
  5. Add the white part of the spring onion along with the sauce. Stir fry for another 2 mins.
  6. Put in the peanuts and chicken stock. You can add anywhere from between 1/2 to 1 cup stock depending on how much sauce you want. Wait till the stock starts bubbling and then thicken the sauce with the cornflour slurry. Add the slurry gradually and stop till you reach your desired thickness.
  7. Sprinkle the green onions and turn off heat.
  8. Serve with fried rice or noodles.

NOTE

  • If you do not have rice vinegar, you can use the regular white vinegar.

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