A Glug of Oil

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

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Kung pao sauce, just like Panda Express!

A highly addictive stir-fry chicken recipe with a sweet and spicy flavour that's lip-tingling and delicious.

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe - a quick stir-fry spicy chicken recipe with peppers, onions and chillies.

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Tender stir-fried chicken pieces - a perfect combo of salty, sweet and deliciously spicy flavours.

What is Kung Pao Chicken?

Kung Pao or Gong Bao Chicken is a spicy, stir-fried Chinese dish made with 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.

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.

Ingredients in this recipe include

  • peppers
  • onions
  • chillies
  • garlic
  • ginger 
  • peanuts 
All cooked in a tasty sauce that makes your lips tingle mixed with peppers and onions that are still slightly crunchy.

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.

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 only use 5 or 6 in my recipe but I have seen some there they use as many as 12 and seriously we like a bit of heat here, but 12? For goodness sake, that's mental!

But you do need to remove the seeds from the chillies or I'm thinking even die-hard chilli fanatics won't be able to eat the dinner.

You can find the ingredients in any good Chinese/Oriental supermarket but if you live where I do they are few and far between.

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

The ideal Shaoxing wine substitute is pale dry sherry, which can also be used in place of other amber-coloured rice wines.

Shaohsing Chinese cooking rice wine

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 Mapo Tofu. Anyway, on with the recipe!

Kung pao chicken.

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

kung pao chicken, recipe for kung pao chicken, panda express kung pao sauce
main, chinese, chicken
Yield: 3-4
Author: Jan Bennett
Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Kung Pao Chicken is tongue-tingling spicy hot. If you like spicy food you will absolutely love this.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 6 MinInactive time: 30 MinTotal time: 46 Min


  • 3 skinless chicken breast fillets
  • 5 whole dried red chillies - deseeded and cut into strips (best to use scissors)
  • a couple of tablespoons of 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
  • a good handful of roasted peanuts
  • 2 spring onions - sliced diagonally
For the Marinade
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) or Sake if you have to
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
For the Sauce
  • 2 teaspoon cornflour
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • ½ a tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • ½ a teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons of water


  1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes and put in a small bowl along with the marinade ingredients for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Now mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. When you're ready to cook - remove the chicken from the marinade and drain.
  4. Heat up a tablespoon of oil in your wok and add the chicken. Stir fry until the chicken is almost cooked. Remove and set aside.
  5. Wipe the wok with kitchen paper and then add the other tablespoon of cooking oil and heat, put in the onion and peppers.
  6. Stir for a couple of minutes.
  7. Now add the ginger and garlic, stir for a minute more and then add the dried red chillies.
  8. Stir fry the dried red chillies until aromatic and they smell spicy. Now, return the chicken. Stir for a few more minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  9. Give the sauce a stir as the sugar will have gone to the bottom, then add it to the wok and stir continuously until the chicken is nicely coated.
  10. Throw in the spring onions and peanuts and give it all another stir.
  11. Serve immediately with egg fried rice.
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