What is Kung Pao Chicken?
Kung Pao Chicken originated from the Sichuan province in China. In Chinese it’s called 宫保鸡丁and some restaurants spell it as Gong Bao or Kung Po Chicken.
It is a spicy chicken dish with a mouthwatering Kung Pao Sauce. In the United States, it is a popular dish at Chinese takeout or restaurants.
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 really authentic, but still delicious. Vegetables such as carrots, water chestnuts, celery, zucchini, or broccoli are added in the dish.
Kung Pao Sauce
Kung Pao Sauce is the soul of Kung Pao Chicken. The secret ingredient is Chinese black (dark) vinegar in the sauce, which is made of:
- Soy sauce
- Dark soy sauce
- Corn Starch
The Kung Pao sauce tastes salty, sweet and vinegary.
The spiciness of Kung Pao Chicken comes from the dried red chilies used in the stir-fry, 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
Kung Pao Chicken is stir-fried in a wok or skillet. First, you cook the ginger and garlic with hot oil, then you add the dried red chilies to bring out the spiciness.
Add the chicken, peanuts and the Kung Pao Sauce and stir fry until the chicken is cooked. My Kung Pao Chicken recipe is easy, authentic and delicious. Try it and you won’t need another takeout again!
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