A Glug of Oil

Easy and delicious recipes including midweek dinner ideas, English and world cuisine.

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Easy Kung Pao Chicken 

Spicy chicken, peanuts and vegetables in a lip-tingling and highly addictive Kung Pao sauce.

This easy homemade recipe is healthy, low in calories and much better than from the takeaway.

Kung Pao Chicken - a quick stir-fry spicy chicken recipe

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This is amazing Chinese chicken food! Tender stir-fried chicken pieces - a perfect combo of salty, sweet and deliciously spicy flavours.

Spicy chicken, peppers, onions and peanuts in a mouthwatering Kung Pao sauce. Just like the Chinese takeout!

What is kung pao chicken?

A spicy stir-fried chicken dish. Kung Pao chicken ingredients are chicken, vegetables, peanuts and chilli peppers. It really should come with a warning because it is highly addictive! 😋 

There is so much flavour in this dish, it's just crazy. Tongue and lip-tingling, I guarantee you'll want it again and again.

I've been to Panda Express a couple of times when I've been in New York, but sadly there aren't currently any here in the UK. You'll find it easier to make than you might think.

Is kung pao chicken healthy?

Well, it's a healthy choice for most people, containing a range of vitamins, minerals, and complete protein. If you have to monitor salt in your diet then be aware that soy sauce is high in salt.

Ingredients for the chicken

  • skinless chicken breasts 
  • whole dried red chillies - deseeded and cut into strips (best to use scissors)
  • vegetable oil
  • green bell pepper 
  • red bell pepper 
  • onion 
  • fresh ginger 
  • garlic 
  • spring onions (scallions) 
  • peanuts

All this is cooked in a tasty kung pao sauce that makes your lips tingle mixed with peppers and onions that are still slightly crunchy.

What is kung pao sauce made of?

The spices in the chicken along with a balance of soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar.

Ingredients for pao sauce

  • cornflour
  • light soy sauce
  • dark soy sauce
  • sugar
  • water

There are many versions of Kung Pao but I've experimented a lot and let me tell you I truly think I've cracked it with this one. 

Usually, I'd add a tiny amount of Chinese black vinegar, but it's actually become hard to get here in the UK unless I order from Amazon. For the small amount, it's not really worth bothering with as we're talking 1 teaspoon.

If you don't like spicy food this is not the recipe for you because the whole dried red chillies are HOT. So you know you are buying the right chillies here's what they look like.

Whole dried red chillies

Now, I use 8 in my recipe but I have seen in some recipes using as many as 12 and leaving the seeds in!

Seriously, we like a bit of heat here, but 12 with the seeds? For goodness sake, that's mental! 😱

But you will probably want to remove the seeds from the chillies or I'm thinking even die-hard chilli fanatics might not be able to eat the dinner. 😉

You can find the ingredients in any good Chinese/Oriental supermarket.

Whatever you do, don't leave out the Chinese Shaohsing Rice Wine in the marinade.

Shaoxing or Shaohsing wine is one of the most famous varieties of huangjiu, or traditional Chinese wines, fermented from rice.

It originates from the region of Shaoxing, in the Zhejiang province of eastern China. It is widely used as both a beverage and a cooking wine in Chinese cuisine.

Substitute for Shaoxing wine

One substitute for Shaoxing wine is pale dry sherry, which can also be used in place of other amber-coloured rice wines. But with that said I've never tried this.

Shaohsing Chinese cooking rice wine

What is velveting?

In order to make the chicken really nice and soft, you can use this meat tenderising technique used by Chinese restaurants. Find out how to velvet chicken or meat in my Chinese chicken curry recipe.

To find more Chinese recipes scroll to the bottom of this post and select Chinese Recipes in the recipe tag cloud at the very bottom of this blog. 

If you like spicy food you will love my Mapo Tofu Recipe.

Kung pao chicken with egg-fried rice.

Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe card below!

kung pao chicken recipe, kung pao sauce, how to make kung pao chicken,
Yield: 3-4
Author: Jan Bennett
Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Kung Pao Chicken is spicy hot and tongue-tingling. If you like spicy food you will absolutely love this.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 8 MinTotal time: 18 Min


Gather and prepare the ingredients
  • 2-3 skinless chicken breast fillets (depending on their size)
  • 6-8 whole dried red chillies - deseeded and cut into strips (best to use scissors)
  • vegetable oil
  • ½ green bell pepper - cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper - cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 large onion - cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 6 thin slices of peeled fresh ginger - chopped finely (to make about 2 teaspoons)
  • 4 cloves garlic - sliced thinly
  • 2 spring onions (scallions) - sliced diagonally
  • a good handful of roasted peanuts
For the marinade
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine)
For the sauce
  • 2 teaspoon cornflour
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • ½ a tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of water


Prepare the chicken and the sauce
  1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes and put them in a small bowl along with the marinade ingredients mix well and leave for 30 minutes - no more or the chicken will start to break down because of the alcohol in the Shaoxing wine.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set it aside.
  1. Remove the chicken from the marinade and drain. Heat a tablespoon of oil in your wok and add the chicken. Stir fry until the chicken is almost cooked. Remove and set aside.
  2. Wipe the wok with kitchen paper and then add another splash of oil and heat, then add the onion and peppers. Stir for a couple of minutes.
  3. Now add the ginger and garlic, stir for a minute more and then add the dried red chillies. Stir fry the chillies until aromatic and they smell spicy.
  4. Return the chicken to the wok and stir for a few more minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Stir the sauce as the cornflour and sugar will have gone to the bottom, then add it to the wok and stir continuously until the chicken is nicely coated.
  6. Throw in the spring onions and peanuts and give it all another stir. Serve immediately with egg-fried rice.
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