Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Kung Pao Chicken.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

I'm so excited to share this recipe with you!
Cooking traditional Chinese food has been something of an obsession of mine over the past few months.
This Kung Pao chicken is the first of many recipes that I hope to share with you all. It is spicy, sweet, numbing and savoury all at the same time. Once tasted, never forgotten. 
This version is one of those dishes that I'm forever looking for excuses to cook again. What's perfect about it is that it uses ingredients that are staples in this house. There is almost always chicken breast in the freezer. It's defrosted, cut up and marinaded in a simple cornflour and egg white mixture. Then, the sauce is whisked up. Again it uses cupboard ingredients like soy sauce and vinegar which the stir fry its savoury and tangy notes.
Finally, the aromatics which give the Kung Pao chicken its main flavour. Things like garlic, ginger and dried red chillies which I always have in the house because we use them so much in Pakistani cooking too. The last aromatic which gives the stir fry its signature and traditional tongue-tingling sensation is the SSichuan peppercorn. Most major supermarkets now stock this spice and you can definitely get it online. It gives the Kung Pao chicken such a distinctive and addictive flavour making it definitely to blame for me wanting to make this spicy stir fry all the time.

A Simple List of Ingredients:

For the Chicken:
1. Chicken Breast Pieces
2. Salt
3. White Pepper
4. Stock Cube
5. Dark Soy Sauce
6. Egg Whites
7. Cornflour

For the Sauce:

1. Salt
2. Stock Cube
3. Sugar
4. Black Chinese Rice Vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar
5. Dark Soy Sauce
6. Cornflour
7. Water

For the Stir Fry:
1. Vegetable Oil
2. Sichuan Peppercorns
3. Dried Red Chillies
4. Garlic
5. Ginger
6. Water
7. Spring Onions
8. Roasted Peanuts (optional)

Bismillah, let's begin!

Our Kung Pao chicken starts with the chicken. Take 3 medium Chicken Breasts and cut them into 2cm cubes. The total weight was 670g.

You can cut the chicken into bigger chunks but we prefer them smaller.

To the chicken, add:
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon White Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Stock Cube, crumbled
1 and 1/2 tablespoons Dark Soy Sauce
2 large Egg Whites
2 tablespoons Cornflour

Give everything a really good mix.

And, set aside to marinade for at least 10 minutes.

Next, let's whisk together the sauce. In a small bowl, measure out:
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Stock Cube, crumbled
5 teaspoons Sugar (seems a lot but I promise that the chillies will balance it out - if you add less chillies, reduce the sugar as well)
2 teaspoons Dark Soy Sauce

And, 2 tablespoons (30ml) Black Chinese Rice Vinegar. If you can't get hold of this, use the same amount of balsamic vinegar instead.

To the sauce, pour in a mixture of 1 tablespoon Cornflour mixed with 2 tablespoons Water. This will help thicken our Kung Pao chicken later.

Whisk the sauce up until smooth.

Set the sauce aside for later.

Next, let's prep the rest of the ingredients for the stir fry. The prep is the key to a good stir fry. Because you'll have everything prepped and ready to go, you can concentrate on the actual cooking over a high heat.

First up, 5-10 Long Dried Red Chillies. Wearing gloves, take out the seeds and tear or cut the chillies into chunks. You can add as many or as little as you want. Even though I removed the seeds, they do still add a big spicy kick to the stir fry so adjust as needed.

Next, the ginger and garlic. Peel and finely mince up 30g Ginger and 30g Garlic (for me, this was 14 small cloves). It's a lot but brings so much delicious flavour to the Kung Pao chicken.

Then, 2 large Spring Onions, cut into small chunks.

Finally, the Sichuan peppercorns. Kung Pao chicken is a dish that is originally from the Sichuan region of China and so traditionally contains these distinctive peppercorns. Feel free to leave them out if you want but I highly recommend them!

We'll use 10-20 Sichuan Peppercorns in this recipe. They give the dish an unusual tongue-tingling flavour sensation. It's really addictive!

All our prep is done! The chicken is marinaded, the sauce has been whisked and the aromatics have been measured and chopped. We can now focus on the stir-frying!

Place a large wok or saucepan over a high heat.

Once the wok is hot, add in about 3/4 cup Vegetable Oil. It's quite a bit but that's because we'll be frying the chicken in it first.

Add the chicken to the hot oil in batches. Because it has cornflour in it, the chicken will stick together. 

Break it up with your spoon once and then leave the chicken to fry without touching it too much. 

Let the chicken fry for 2 minutes over a high heat. We only want it to be half-cooked at this stage.

Drain it from the wok with a slotted spoon and pop onto a plate.

Keep frying the rest of the chicken and set it aside until needed.

Next, drain out the oil from the wok, leaving behind about 4 tablespoons.

Over a medium heat, add in the Sichuan peppercorns, chopped ginger, chopped garlic and chunks of dried red chilli.

Stir fry for about 1 minute until really fragrant.

Then, add the chicken back in.

Stir fry it over a high heat for 2 minutes.

Then, pour in the sauce that we whisked earlier.

Along with a Splash of Water.

Stir fry for another few minutes until the chicken is fully cooked through. It shouldn't take long because the chicken is in small pieces and has already been half-fried.

When the chicken is cooked, add in the chopped spring onion.

And, Roasted Peanuts if you're using them. I'm not a big fan of nuts in my Kung Pao chicken so left them out.

That's it! All we do now is serve up!

Seriously though, how good does that look?! I could do with some right now!

I love serving this Kung Pao chicken with simple steamed white rice.

The plain rice goes really well and balances out the spicy stir fry. Enjoy!

Kung Pao Chicken.

Prep Time: About 30 minutes.
Cook Time: About 15 minutes.
Serves: About 4 people.


For the Chicken
3 medium Chicken Breasts, cut into 2cm cubes (670g)
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon White Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Stock Cube, crumbled
1 and 1/2 tablespoons Dark Soy Sauce
2 large Egg Whites
2 tablespoons Cornflour

For the Sauce
1 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Stock Cube, crumbled
5 teaspoons Sugar
2 tablespoons (30ml) Black Chinese Rice Vinegar or Balsamic Vinegar 
2 teaspoons Dark Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Cornflour mixed with 2 tablespoons Water

For the Stir Fry
Vegetable Oil, as needed
10-20 Sichuan Peppercorns
5-10 Dried Red Chillies, seeds removed and cut into chunks
30g Garlic, peeled and finely minced (14 small cloves)
30g Ginger, peeled and finely minced
Water, as needed
2 large Spring Onions, cut into small chunks
Roasted Peanuts, to taste (optional)

To Serve
Steamed or Boiled White Rice

Marinade the chicken:
Mix together all the ingredients and leave to marinade for at least 10 minutes.

Mix the sauce:
Whisk together all the ingredients and set aside until needed.

Fry the chicken:
Heat about 3/4 cup vegetable oil in a wok over a high heat. When the oil is hot, fry the chicken in batches for 2 minutes until it's half cooked. Drain with a slotted spoon and pop on a plate. Continue with the rest of the chicken.

Time for the stir fry:
Pour out the oil from the wok leaving behind about 4 tablespoons. To the hot oil, over a medium heat, add in the Sichuan peppercorns, dried red chillies, ginger and garlic. Stir fry until fragrant - about 1 minute. Add the fried chicken and stir fry over a high heat for 2 minutes.

Pour in the sauce. Stir fry and add in water, if needed. Fry for 1 minute until thick and glossy. Once the chicken is cooked and you're happy with the sauce, stir in the spring onions and peanuts, if you're using them. Give everything a final stir fry for 1 minute then serve.

Serve immediately with steamed or boiled white rice.

Recipe Notes

  • You can adjust all the spices and seasonings according to your own taste.

Keep me in your duas please, and enjoy your Kung Pao chicken!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

Spice Enthusiast


  1. Awesome recipe with both chilli and pepper heat. And so easy to make. Only problem was breathing in the kitchen when the spices were frying!

    1. Yes, the spices can be quite potent. So glad you enjoyed the dish.

  2. Such a lovely recipe... HD loves Chinese meals but I haven't been lucky to find the vinegars here... Looks so good!

    1. Thank you Rafeeda. Feel free to sub the vinegar for any vinegar that is easy for you to get hold of.

  3. This is amazing!! Made it yesterday after a week of finding your recipe. Even my 1 year old loved it, minus the tonnes of spice obviously. You need to be picked up for a book!

    1. Thank you so much! I'm so glad you all enjoyed the Kung Pao chicken. :)

  4. Can I leave out the Egg whites

    1. I've never tried it without the egg white but you're free to try.

  5. Where can I find the dry chilli if you have a link to website would be appreciated

    1. I buy mine from the local asian cash and carry. But any dried chilli will do.

  6. U prepared this page with good effort great....good recipe

  7. I made this last night, delicious, authentic, I am so glad I founsd your site, thank you
    All the best x

  8. Hi
    Want to try this can I just ask what stock cube u use
    Thank you

  9. Love this recipe!
    Do you have any tips as to how to make this with more gravy? More sauce

  10. This muslim girl cooked this. And oh my god, was it delicious. The taste, the look. Immaculate!
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

  11. Hi is there a substitution for those peppercorn as I cant find them?

    1. You can leave them out or add 1/2 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder.

  12. Amazing recipe! So tasty! Making tomorrow for second time. I will however put less red chillies in as 5 was too hot for me.

    1. So glad you enjoyed it. Yes, feel free to adjust to your taste.


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