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.
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
- 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.
- Meanwhile for the sauce: combine all ingredients and taste for balance of salty, sweet and spicy.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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For some history on this dish and recipe variations read How to make the perfect Kung Pao Chicken.
Photography by: John Paul Urizar