Kung Pao Beef Recipe
Kung Pao Beef is a stir-fry Chinese dish made from marinated beef sliced and cooked with signature Kung Pao sauce, which is delicious with a spicy yet sweet and savory taste. Kung Pao Beef is a popular takeout dish in any local Chinese restaurant, as well as Kung Pao Chicken or Kung Pao Shrimp.
The authentic Kung Pao Beef tastes spicy with a mouth-numbing sensation coming from Szechuan peppercorn and dried red chilies. If you love spicy Chinese food, this is the perfect recipe for you.
This homemade Kung Pao Beef recipe is easy to prepare. You can also adjust the spiciness by adding fewer dried red chilies as you like. This main dish is ready in less than 20 minutes with a few simple ingredients.
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Ingredients for Kung Pao Beef Recipe
Kung Pao Beef calls for several simple ingredients:
- Beef tenderloin, sliced
- Roasted peanuts
- Dried red chilies
- Vegetable oil
Marinate the beef with these seasoning ingredients:
- Corn starch
- Soy sauce
- Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
- Sesame oil
Kung Pao sauce is key in this recipe:
- Soy sauce
- Dark soy sauce
- Chinese black vinegar
- Corn starch
How to Make Kung Pao Beef?
This quick and easy stir-fry beef dish takes less than 10 minutes to cook.
First, marinate the beef in a bowl. Next, prepare the Kung Pao sauce.
Heat the frying pan (or skillet) with oil, and stir-fry the marinated beef until the meat is halfway cooked, then remove and rest. Clean the frying pan and heat more oil. Add in ginger, garlic slices, and give a quick stir before adding the dried red chilies.
Continue to stir fry until the dried red chilies smell spicy, then add in the beef slices. Keep stirring the meat a few times before adding in the roasted peanuts.
Finally, add the sauce mixture and constantly stir the meat until fully cooked and coated with sauce. Serve the dish immediately with chopped scallions on top.
- Cut the beef into thin slices so they cook fast and remain tender. I usually cut the beef slices 1/4-inch thick.
- To ensure the beef slices stay soft and tender after cooking, it is best to marinate the beef slices with both corn starch (or baking soda) and oil.
- Prepare the Kung Pao sauce in advance and make sure to not add extra water to it. The meat should be glossy and coated with thick sauce once cooked.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Difference between Kung Pao Beef and Mongolian Beef?
Kung Pao Beef is stir-fried with a flavorful Kung Pao sauce, which tastes sweet-savory and spicy with dried red chilies and crunchy roasted peanuts. On the other hand, Mongolian beef is usually made with sliced flank steak and onion slices. It tastes sweet-savory as well, but not spicy.
What Makes the Beef So Soft and Tender after Cooking?
Marinating the beef with corn starch (or baking soda), soy sauce, and a teaspoon of oil always help to tenderize the meat.
How Many Calories Is This Recipe?
This recipe is 417 calories per serving.
What Dishes to Serve with This Recipe?
Serve this dish with steamed rice or noodles. For a wholesome Chinese meal and easy weeknight dinner, I recommend the following recipes.
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Kung Pao Beef
- 10 ounces beef tenderloin, sliced
- 3 tablespoons roasted peanuts
- 6-8 dried red chilies (seeded halved)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 5 slices peeled fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic (sliced diagonally)
- 1 stalk scallion (cut into rings)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- Cut beef into thin slices, rinse in water, and pat dry with paper towels. Marinate the beef slices with corn starch, soy sauce, Chinese Shaoxing rice wine, and sesame oil. Cover the meat with plastic wrap and let it marinate for 20 minutes.
- Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl, whisk well. Set aside.
- Heat the frying pan (or skillet) with one tablespoon of oil on medium-high heat and stir-fry the marinated beef until the meat is halfway cooked or turns brown. Remove and set aside. Clean the frying pan and heat it with two tablespoons of oil. Add in ginger, garlic slices, and give a quick stir before adding the dried red chilies.
- Continue stir fry until the dried red chilies smell spicy, then add in the beef slices. Keep stirring the meat a few times before adding in the roasted peanuts.
- Finally, add the sauce mixture and consistently stir the meat until fully cooked and coated with sauce. Dish out and sprinkle the scallions on top. Serve immediately with steamed rice.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.
If I like to make it saucy do I add more water? I find using baking soda to be fastest to soften the beef. If you use Szechuan peppercorn, do you use whole or lightly crush it? Bitting into it is taste terrible, numbing bitterness.
Yes you can. You can use whole peppercorn.
Szechuan peppercorns …you talk about them …but they are not included in the recipe.
If I were to use them …how much do I use? …And, when do I add them
Your recipes are wonderful. I am anxious to make this recipe soon (with or without the peppercorns!)
You can add 1/4 teaspoon if you want to add them, you add it after the dried red chilies.
Soooo yummy. Should have tried this sooner. I have enjoyed this at restaurants but didn’t realize it was so simple, so hense was putting it off as one of those recipes that “probably wasn’t quite right “. But I was wrong this is just as delicious !…. maybe better!
How do I post your recipes on Pintrist?
In your first step it says think slices. I am thinking this might be a type :)
Will try it out for CNY dinner.