What is Kung Pao Chicken?
Kung Pao Chicken is from the Sichuan province in China. The Chinese name is 宫保鸡丁 (gong bao ji ding) but some restaurants spell it as Gong Bao Chicken or Kung Po Chicken.
This is a spicy chicken dish with a mouthwatering Kung Pao Sauce. It is popular at Chinese takeouts or restaurants here in the United States.
Is Kung Pao Chicken Authentic?
Authentic Kung Pao Chicken calls for Sichuan peppercorn for the numbing flavor and loads of dried red chilies for the “mala” (spicy and numbing) flavors.
The Americanized version we get here is not authentic but delicious. Vegetables such as carrots, water chestnuts, celery, zucchini and broccoli are part of the dish.
Kung Pao Sauce
Kung Pao Sauce is the soul of Kung Pao Chicken. The sauce is brown in color, mildly spicy and dangerously addictive. It tastes salty, sweet and vinegary. The secret ingredient is Chinese black (dark) vinegar and below is the list of ingredients of the sauce:
- Soy sauce
- Dark soy sauce
- Corn Starch
The spiciness of Kung Pao Chicken comes from the dried red chilies in the stir-fry and not from the sauce. You may use rice vinegar, red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar for equally delicious results.
How Do You Make Kung Pao Chicken
This is a stir-fry chicken dish in a work or skillet. First, you cook the ginger and garlic with heated oil, then you add the dried red chilies to bring out the spiciness.
Add the chicken, peanuts and the Kung Pao Sauce and cook until the chicken is done.
Tips on How to Stir-Fry Kung Pao Chicken
- Heat the wok or skillet before stir-frying.
- Cut the chicken into uniform pieces so they cook evenly.
- Prepare the Kung Pao Sauce in advance by mixing all the ingredients together.
- The spatula plays an active role in stir-frying so use it to continuously stir and toss the ingredients in a back and forth, circular, turning and flipping motions.
How Many Calories are in Kung Pao Chicken
My Kung Pao Chicken recipe is an easy, authentic and healthy recipe and only 350 calories. Serve it with steamed rice, fried rice or noodles.
Serve Kung Pao Chicken with:
For a wholesome Chinese dinner, make the following dishes.
Complete Meal Plan
Other Chinese Recipes You Might Like
- Kung Pao Shrimp
- General Tso’s Chicken
- Hunan Chicken
- Broccoli Beef
- Orange Chicken
- Sweet and Sour Pork