Kung Pao Chicken is a classic Chinese dish from the Szechuan region however it has long become a classic staple of the Westernised take away!
My Kung Pao Chicken Recipe.
Regular readers will know that I love a good ‘fakeaway’. As a result, the appearance of another classic Chinese takeaway recipe should come as no surprise!
It is heady with Szechuan peppercorns and plenty of dried chilli flakes.
Two flavours that I simply adore, Szechuan pepper has the most wonderful fizz.
Significantly it is ready in less than 30 minutes!
One Dish Many Names.
Apparently, the name of this dish hails after the Governer of the Szechuan state in China.
It is often translated as Gong Bao Chicken and Kung Po chicken, I have even seen it written phonetically as Kung Pow Chicken which makes me smile. They are, however, all the same dish.
It all seems very complicated but it is far from it.
We are talking about a very quick chicken stir fry recipe.
Traditionally peanuts and leeks would be the core ingredients joining chicken.
My version omits the leeks and swaps out peanuts for cashew nuts. They add a delightful creaminess alongside a crunch to the recipe.
One of the reasons I love Chinese ‘Fakeaways’ is the speed, once you get going 10-15 minutes later you have a wonderfully tasty bowl of food.
Recipe Hints and Tips.
There is no real secret in cooking this fantastic recipe at home.
All of the tools and techniques are pretty well-trodden for a home cook.
As with all stir fry recipes you should ensure that all of your ingredients are prepared before you begin.
The short marinade of the chicken breast for this recipe is a technique called ‘velveting’.
It is one that is common to Chinese cuisine and adds a velvety texture to meat.
It typically involves using an egg white, although I skip this as I hate throwing away the egg yolk.
You also need to ensure that your wok is hot, shimmering hot.
If your wok is not hot your kung pao chicken will stick and it will braise rather than fry.
Finally, as with all stir-fried recipes you need to keep that food moving.
You can be all fancy and toss the pan but that often cools the pan which is not good.
Instead, use a robust slotted spoon and stir and fry all the time, the name is a solid hint at the technique!
- 1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
- 1/2 Tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 1 1/2 Tsp Cornflour
- 1 Tbsp Cold Water
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- 75 g Cashew Nuts
- 4 Cloves Garlic
- 35 g Ginger
- 1 Tsp Dried Chili Flakes
- 1 Tbsp Szechuan Peppercorns
- 2 Salad Onions
- 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
For the Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Tsp Cornflour
- 1 Tsp Light Soy Sauce
- 1 Tsp Dark Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Chiangking Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Water
- 1 Tsp Sesame Oil
- Slice the chicken in half length ways and then into 5mm strips diagonally across the breast.
- Finely slice the garlic and spring onions.
- Cut the ginger into thin batons.
- Mix together 1 tbsp light soy sauce, 1/2 tbsp Shaoxing wine, 1 tbsp water and 1 1/2 tsp of cornflour to form a quick marinade and add in the sliced chicken whilst you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Toast off your cashew nuts in a dry wok and set aside.
- Mix together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
- Ensure you have all of your ingredients prepared before you start cooking as we are gonna go pretty fast now.
- Heat the flavourless cooking oil in a very hot wok until just before it begins to smoke.
- Add in the Szechuan pepper, chili flakes, garlic and ginger and stir fry for 1 minute.
- Then add in your chicken along with the marinade and stir fry for 4-5 minutes.
- Add in most of the salad onions but keep some green bits back for garnish.
- The pour in the sauce it will thicken and go silky very quickly.
- Finally add in your cashew nuts and cook until the chicken is cooked through, this should take no longer than another couple of minutes.
Serve with plain white rice.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 651 Total Fat: 39g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 30g Cholesterol: 103mg Sodium: 1229mg Carbohydrates: 32g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 11g Protein: 46g