Kung Pao Chicken

Kung pao chicken is one of my favorite Chinese food stir fry dishes. It is super easy to make at home. This is one of my go to recipes for when I need a quick, healthy dinner that is still really satisfying to eat.

The original dish only calls for chicken, seasoned with ginger, garlic, chilis, Sichuan pepper, and savory sauce and topped with scallions and peanuts. I like to add some bell pepper, onion, celery and carrot to this dish just to bump up the nutritional value and to stretch it to feed my teens.

The sauce for this dish requires Chinese black vinegar (which is delicious and pretty much my favorite vinegar), as well as Shaoxing wine. Shaoxing wine you can sometimes fine at the grocery store, Chinese black vinegar is easier to source from Asian markets or order from Amazon like I do. It also uses Sichuan pepper, which you can buy as peppercorns or grind, or take the easy way and buy already ground online like this one.

This dish only takes about 20-30 minutes to make and it has a TON of flavor. It is best served with hot white rice. If don’t want to serve the extra veggies added in like I do, you can also serve with a vegetable side dish.

Kung Pao Chicken

Spicy stir fry chicken with sichuan pepper and peanuts
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4 people


For the chicken:

  • 3 boneless chicken breasts cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 3 tsp cornstarch
  • large pinch of kosher salt

For the sauce:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • water or chicken stock as needed

For the stir fry:

  • 1 large bell pepper (any color) large diced
  • 1 large onion large diced
  • 2 stalks celery sliced
  • 1 carrot sliced into rounds
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6-12 dried red chilies I used Sichuan chilies, you can also use arbol. Stemmed, seeded and cut in half.
  • 1/2 tsp ground Sichuan pepper or more to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 inch knob fresh ginger peeled and minced
  • 6 Scallions sliced
  • 3/4 cup roasted peanuts


For the sauce:

  • Combine the ingredients and mix well.

For the stir fry:

  • Combine the chicken, wine, soy, cornstarch and salt in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
  • Pour 1 tbsp oil into a frying pan and heat over medium high heat. Add the carrots and cook for a few minutes, then add the onions, peppers and celery and increase heat to high and stir fry for just a few minutes until some brown/black spots appear. Don't overcook. You want the veggies to still be somewhat crisp.
  • Move veggies to a plate and add the last 2 tbsp oil to the pan over medium high. Add the chicken and stir fry until browned. Add the ginger, garlic, Sichuan pepper and chilies and continue cooking and stirring occasionally until the chicken is fully cooked. Turn down the heat if it is burning but not cooked through.
  • Add the sauce to the pan along with a little water and the veggies. Toss everything and cook for a minute, adding more water if the sauce is too thick. Serve over your rice.
Keyword Chicken, Lunch, Main Dish

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