Kung Pao Chicken
July 23rd, 2014 194 Comments

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken pictures (3 of 6)

This Kung Pao Chicken recipe was originally posted on Nov 18, 2007. Updated with new photos.

(Popular and All-Time Favorite Chinese recipesBroccoli Beef, Sweet and Sour Pork, Egg Drop Soup, Chow Mein, Cashew Chicken, Fried Rice, Orange Chicken, Mongolian Beef, and more.)

Today, I am sharing with you a popular Chinese recipe that is well-loved by many in the United States and all over the world—the famous Chinese Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁).

Kung Pao is a cooking technique originated from the Sichuan province of China; the authentic Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁) or Gong Bao Ji Ding calls for the staple Sichuan peppercorn for the numbing flavor, however, the version popular outside of Sichuan has since been adapted to many regional variations. For examples: in Malaysia, Kung Pao chicken is served without peanuts, but sometimes cashew nuts are used; in Thailand, fish sauce and sweet soy sauce are used to flavor a similar dish. However, the Kung Pao chicken we get in 90% of so-called Chinese restaurants in the United States is the heavily Americanized version that appears gooey, greasy, and sweet. You will also find all kinds of vegetables in the dish such as carrots, water chestnuts, celery, zucchini, and even broccoli.

Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁)

I tried to keep my Kung Pao Chicken recipe as authentic as possible, but feel free to tone down the quantity of dried chilies as you wish. I wanted to share the secret ingredient of Kung Pao chicken, which is vinegar in the sauce. It gives that subtle yet characteristic touch to complete the Kung Pao flavor.
If you like this Kung Pao Chicken recipe and Chinese recipes, you might also like the following recipes on Rasa Malaysia:


Chow Mein Broccoli Beef Sweet and Sour Pork Egg Drop Soup
Chow Mein Broccoli Beef Sweet and Sour Pork Egg Drop Soup
Kung Pao Chicken Cashew Chicken Fried Rice Orange Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken Cashew Chicken Fried Rice Orange Chicken
Crab Rangoon Mongolian Beef
Crab Rangoon Mongolian Beef
Click Page 2 for the Kung Pao Chicken Recipe
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194 comments... read them below or add one

  1. K & S says:

    I’ve never tried this dish before, sounds really good and spicy :)

  2. Lydia says:

    Kung Pao Chicken is my absolutely favorite dish, and it’s the one that prompted me to learn a bit about Asian cooking and condiments. I will definitely try your recipe!

  3. Andaliman says:

    I love the shape of your serving plate

  4. Nags says:

    only tasted this in chinese restaurants here :) looks amazing. lovely pic

  5. Tracy Tan says:

    i love this dish. i believe it is also popular with westerners :) i met an Irish guy over the weekend and he asked for kung pao ji ding!

  6. "Joe" who is constantly craving says:

    that i didnt know..famous among the westerners..i thought they all only eat sweet and sour pork and honey chicken..

  7. Anonymous says:

    Which red chili? Cayenne? There’s a huge selection of chilies where I live =^)


  8. Claude-Olivier says:

    I have to test this one, no way! Woaw, this picture is…no word ;-) bravo

  9. Piggy says:

    It’s hard to find an authentic version of this dish. Yours look yummy as always!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I agree!!
    i can never find the perfect Gung Bao Chicken in Australia. It’s either filled with ‘funky’ veges or it’s just too gooey like what u said above. I miss Malaysian’s Gung Bao Chicken/ Cuttlefish, goes so well with a nice bowl of steamed rice.


  11. veron says:

    I always wondered if Kung Pao chicken really was a chinese dish and not just a chinese dish invented stateside. Now your version holds a lot of appeal to me …it looks so yummy!

  12. Rina says:

    This seems to be perfect. I love the pictures. Thanx for yet another simple chicken recipe. Sure to try. Are you sendign this to Sunitha as an entry for Think spice ginger?

  13. joey says:

    Your recipes are always so mouth-watering…not to mention your pictures! I have saved this recipe, thanks! :)

  14. Meeta says:

    WOW! This looks soo scrumptious. I am now craving for a spoonful!

  15. nicholas says:

    IMO,if it’s not spicy a bit, then it will not be delicious.

  16. wmw says:

    You said it right, well loved by many and I’m one of them!!! Hehehe…

  17. MARICHELLE says:

    you’re absolutely right… I’m sure the Chinese Take-outs (there’s seriously one in every single corner in the city) have managed to butcher this dish – so, I can’t wait to try your version!

  18. holybasil says:

    I’m so glad you posted this recipe – it’s a great dish that’s been butchered by so many take-out joints. Your recipe sound delicious!

  19. Kevin says:

    Great photos! This Kung Pao Chicken recipe sounds really tasty. I will have to see if I can find some black vinegar.

  20. MeiyeN says:

    this’s my favourite dish! we usually order this in esquire kitchen but over here, it’s called “koong pou kai ting” lol..

  21. Jen Yu says:

    That looks delicious and wonderfully non-American-Chinese restaurant-ish :) Lovely.

  22. Alex says:

    I love eating this dish when I’m at chinese restaurants have never cooked it though…I think I’ll have to try it!

  23. Rina says:

    Rasa thanks for visiting mime. You can find the food blog event details for the Think spice – Ginger event here.

  24. Outdoors2 @ SU says:

    Wonderful Photography as Well as the Recipes
    Thank You !

  25. Terri @ A Daily Obsession says:

    u’re right! i’ve only ever eaten msian goongbao chicken n it was a big surprise to eat it in Chengdu, Sichuan & find tt it is completely different! now i never order it in’s the same thing with mapo tofu. our version is so WRONG, so tasteless w/o the sichuan peppercorn n douban paste. it’s like eating hotdogs with oyster sauce, totally unauthentic.

  26. tigerfish says:

    I definitely like your version – not-so-greasy, not-so-gooey-starchy and authentic. :D

  27. Rasa Malaysia says:

    K&S – you have never tried them…do try it, I bet you will like it. :)

    Lydia – yes, this is a very friendly dish so anyone can easily fall in love with the dish and be intrigued by the cooking method behind it. Good to hear that you are going to try my recipe!

    Andaliman – hehe, I like it too.

    Nags – well, I wonder how’s the one served at the restaurants in your place…;)

    Tracy – yep…many people like Kung Pao.

    Joe – well, other than sweet and sour, orange chicken, etc. Kung Pao is also one of the favorites at Chinese restaurants.

    Sherri – yeah, dried Holland chiles or cayenne should be fine.

    Claude – I bet you would love this recipe…can’t wait to see your version. :)

    Piggy – I actually like the Kung Pao in Malaysia, it’s not bad. But the US ones, bleh. :P

    Pegs – Funky veggie, correct… all kinds of veggies imaginable are in Kung Pao…tell me about it. LOL.

    Veron – yep, it’s a real Chinese dish that has been slaughtered to an unrecognizable state! :P

    Rina – thanks for telling me about the event, I just entered. :)

    Joey – you are ever so sweet. Thanks. Your pictures are real masterpiece!

    Meeta – OK, go ahead, dig in with two spoons please. ;)

    Nicholas – yeah, I love it spicy too, if not too spicy, there is no kick.

    WMW – Me too!

  28. Rasa Malaysia says:

    Marichelle – I can’t agree more with you. I “despise” those takeout places…they are the ones that give Chinese food very bad names in the US. They should really cook responsibly. ;)

    Holy Basil – yep, again, I can’t agree more. They slaughtered the dish. Period.

    Kevin – black vinegar is a keeper in your pantry…will have to share dumplings recipe that calls for black vinegar. YUM!

    Meiyen – correct, you pronounced it in Cantonese…:)

    Jen Yu – LOL, I wonder where are my water chesnuts, carrots, and celery? :P

    Alex – some Chinese restaurants do a good job with this…despite being a little Americanized. ;)

    Rina – thanks again for the Sunitas blog. :)

    Outdoors2 – Thank you. You are too nice. :)

    Terri – actually the Kung Pao in Malaysia is not bad, I have no complaints really…but the American takeout versions…don’t even get me started. :P

    Tiga – some versions we get here (even in California) are too sweet and taste really bad…gross!

  29. sunita says:

    Love that yummy dish…thanks for sending it over…

  30. aria says:

    ohman rasa, i can just TELL thats how its done! looks beautiful and i’m so jealous i do not have a plate in front of me now!!

  31. says:

    Nice one!

  32. Khun Ying says:

    Yes, Yummy!

  33. sean says:

    Used to order this from the local chinese restaurant food in NY. now i’m back in Malaysia,I can cook it at home. thanks.

  34. khaki says:

    i like the way you only use a small amount of black vinegar.. i have cooked this dish many times and all of the recipes i followed used way too much .. it overpowered the dish.. i ended up using only a few drops also

  35. Anonymous says:

    can the corn starch in your various recipes be substituted with plain flour? i don’t want to have to buy a big tin when i don’t use much

  36. Jan says:

    Thank you for this recipe – I made it tonight – it was delish!
    I have of course put a link to your site on my blog!
    Thanks again.

  37. Anonymous says:


    Try Dainty Sichuan Food in Melbourne’s chinatown for an authentic australian gang bao experience.


  38. ptfx says:

    Tried this yesturday and it was FANTASTIC!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for the recipe


  39. Savannah says:

    I always buy kung pao chicken when i go to chinese restaurant wince its the most spicy dish. Now thanks to your kung pao chicken recipe, i can make this myself.

  40. Tuthay says:

    I will never forget the time I tasted the kung pao chicken pasty from that’s what lead me to discovering the Kung Pao chicken, he real one.This is really great!

  41. Quinn says:

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful recipe. I’ve made it with success many times here:

    I’ve also followed your cashew chicken recipe style of marinating the chicken with baking sods first before proceeding with marinating with sauces.

    It turned out perfectly, very tender diced chicken. Just exactly like the one I had in Esquire Kitchen ages back.

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  42. epicurious says:

    I used to eat Kung Pao chicken in a little hole in the wall in Santa Barbara California. Its always has been my favorite chinese dish (along with asian greens). I moved to Australia ten years ago and could never find a replacement. I always asked every restaurant if they could make a version of it for me and it was never even close. It was such a disappointment that I stopped eating Chinese food altogether.
    I was so excited to see this recipe and use it. I followed the recipe exactly except for the sugar part where I used brown and slightly less. Its a stunning dish.And such a gift!
    It was rather spicey….I love that though…..but in thinking of making it for guests….I thought maybe more scallions and maybe water chestnuts?
    5 out 5 on the yummy score.

  43. brad says:

    try this.

  44. MOwoman says:

    I have been chasing the taste I had when I first ate Kung Pao in an authentic (??) fine Chinese restaurant in Chicago decades ago. (I think the name was Abacus; not sure it still exists.) I loved the numbing hot taste that brought tears to my eyes (of joy). In reading the prelude to your recipe you mention Sichuan peppercorns as an ingredient, but your recipe only calls for chili peppers. Now, after reading up on the former in Wikipedia, I’m thinking that my first luscious dish contained BOTH Sichuan and chili peppers and the Sichuan are the secret ingredient that sets stage for the latter. Otherwise, your ingredients seem to match exactly what I think of as authentic (ONLY water chestnuts and scallions; NEVER carrots, green peppers, BROCCOLI, ugh). So, I’m wondering why you didn’t include Sichuan peppers in your recipe???

    • Alan says:

      FYI, authentic Chinese food rarely contains water chestnut. I have never had water chestnut until I came to the U.S.

  45. Angela says:

    I just tried this recipe. I did not have any black vinegar around so I used half a lemon instead. It still taste absolutely wonderful. I only wished mine looked as dark at the photo. Maybe the black vinegar. :( And finally, I will have to double the recipe next time since I would love to take some for work the next day. Thanks a whole lot. I loved it.

  46. yumamum says:

    This recipe looks delicious, but I do not have cornstarch right now. I wonder if I can use arrowroot powder or sticky rice flour instead for the thickening?

  47. Pingback:» Kung Pao Chicken

  48. msmeanie says:

    Hi! I made this recipe and it was really good! I will definitely be making it again. I wrote about it on my website. Thanks for the great recipe!

  49. The Duck says:

    What’s a westerner? If I live in Hawaii, anyone West of me is a Westerner?

  50. Jasmine says:

    i made this tonight. It was delicious! I added fried tofu into the dish.

    i’ll put a lot less chili next time, because it was crazy hot!!!! maybe it was the chili i used….but definitely try little by little if you are unsure!

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