Easy Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Today, we’re going to make a yummy chicken dish called Kung Pao Chicken. It’s a popular meal that many people love because it’s full of flavor and has a nice mix of tender chicken, crunchy peanuts, and a little bit of spice. This recipe will show you a simple way to cook it at home, using ingredients that are easy to find. We’ll walk through each step together, so you can make a delicious dinner for yourself or to share with family and friends. Let’s get started!

Ingredients Overview

Marinated Chicken:

  • Chicken Breast: 16 oz (450 g), cut into bite-sized pieces for quick cooking and easy eating
  • Marinade:
    • Soy Sauce: 3 tsp, for a salty, umami base
    • Sugar: 1/2 tsp, to balance the flavors
    • White Pepper Powder: 1/4 tsp, for a subtle heat
    • Cornstarch: 6 tsp, to coat and tenderize the chicken, ensuring a silky texture
    • Baking Soda: 1 1/4 tsp, to further tenderize the meat
    • Rice Wine: 2 tsp, to enhance flavor and tenderize
    • Water: 1 tbsp, for hydration
    • Oil: 1 tbsp, to lock in moisture

Stir Fry Components:

  • Vegetables & Aromatics:
    • Zucchini: 7.9 oz (224 g), sliced, for a crisp, fresh contrast
    • Garlic: 4 cloves, minced, foundational flavor
    • Ginger: 5 slices, minced, for its sharp, spicy undertone
    • Green Onion: 4 stalks, chopped into segments, for a burst of freshness
  • Seasonings & Extras:
    • Dried Whole Chilies: 10, to infuse the dish with a slow-building heat
    • Chili Flakes: 1 tsp, for an immediate spicy kick
    • Rice Wine, Soy Sauce, Dark Soy Sauce, Sugar, Paprika, Rice Vinegar, Water, White Pepper Powder: Combined to create a rich, complex sauce that’s both tangy and sweet, with a depth of color and flavor
    • Roasted Peanuts: 1/2 cup, for a nutty crunch

Cooking Method

  1. Marinate the Chicken:
    • Combine chicken pieces with all marinade ingredients in a bowl. Mix well to ensure each piece is coated. Set aside for at least 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the chicken to tenderize.
  2. Prepare the Stir-Fry Sauce:
    • In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tbsp rice wine, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp dark soy sauce, 1 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 3/4 cup water, and 1/4 tsp white pepper powder. Set aside.
  3. Cook the Chicken:
    • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the marinated chicken in batches, ensuring not to crowd the pan. Stir-fry until golden and cooked through. Remove and set aside.
  4. Stir-Fry Vegetables and Aromatics:
    • In the same pan, add an additional 1 tbsp oil if needed. Sauté garlic, ginger, and dried chilies until fragrant. Add zucchini, seasoning with 1/8 tsp salt and 1/16 tsp sugar. Stir-fry until just tender.
  5. Combine and Finish:
    • Return the chicken to the pan along with the green onions and chili flakes. Stir in the prepared sauce, mixing well to coat all ingredients evenly. Allow to simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.
    • Toss in the roasted peanuts just before serving, ensuring they retain their crunch.
  6. Serve:
    • Serve your Kung Pao Chicken hot, ideally over a bed of steamed rice or with your favorite side for a complete meal.

This rendition of Kung Pao Chicken stays true to the traditional flavors while embracing a modern twist, promising a dish that’s packed with flavor, heat, and a delightful variety of textures. Whether you’re a seasoned aficionado of Sichuan cuisine or a curious newcomer, this recipe is sure to impress and satisfy.