Project Description

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken is a popular Sichuan dish of chicken, peanuts and vegetables with authentic ingredients like Shaoxing wine, Chiankiang vinegar and Sichuan pepper. Adjust the heat to suit your taste.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes + 30 minutes marinating


750g chicken thigh fillets
2 tbsp (40ml) soy sauce
2 tbsp (40ml) Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
½ tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp cornflour
½ cup (125ml) peanut or grapeseed oil
45 peanuts in the shell, 90 (45g/1/3 cup) shelled peanuts
4 green onions, sliced diagonally into 2.5cm pieces
1 red capsicum, cut into 2cm dice
1 – 2 long red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped, or to taste
4 dried long red chillies, roughly chopped
Steamed rice, to serve

For the sauce
1 tablespoon (20 ml) Sichuan or other Chinese chilli bean paste
1 tablespoon (20 ml) hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons (40 ml) Chiankiang black vinegar
½ teaspoon (5 ml) sesame oil
1/3 cup (80 ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper toasted and ground
1 teaspoon grated ginger


  1. Cut chicken into 2cm pieces. Combine soy, Shaoxing wine and white pepper and marinate chicken for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Drain, reserving the marinade and toss with cornflour.
  2. Meanwhile for the sauce: combine all ingredients and taste for balance of salty, sweet and spicy.
  3. Heat wok with half the oil over high heat. Fry the peanuts until golden and aromatic. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
  4. Add onions, capsicum and chillies to the wok and stir-fry until softened. Remove and reserve. Wipe out wok with kitchen towel. Add remaining oil and stir-fry chicken in batches (to avoid overcrowding and stewing) until golden and almost cooked, approx. 4 minutes. Return the vegetables and chillies to the wok with the chicken.
  5. Add sauce and reserved marinade, then cook for 1 minute or until slightly thick and glossy. Toss through the peanuts and serve immediately with steamed rice, if desired.

Lyndey’s Note: If you can’t get Chiankiang vinegar use rice wine vinegar or a good quality balsamic vinegar.

Related Recipes:
Chinese-style Roast Chicken
Chinese Roast Duck Salad

For some history on this dish and recipe variations read How to make the perfect Kung Pao Chicken.

Photography by: John Paul Urizar