Kung Pao chicken | casaveneracion.com

Kung Pao chicken

Sweet, sour, salty and spicy, kung pao chicken is a dish that originates from the Sichuan Province of central-western China. The most important ingredient of Kung Pao chicken is the Sichuan peppercorn. Curious that by the time the dish became a hit in America, the recipe rarely included Sichuan peppercorns. Perhaps, it’s the unavailability. But if you have access to Sichuan peppercorns and you want to cook kung pao chicken at home, I really suggest that you not underestimate the wonderful flavors and aroma that only Sichuan peppercorns can impart to this dish.

Kung pao chicken is meant to cook within a few minutes and very high heat all throughout the cooking is essential.

Serves four.


8 chicken thigh fillets, diced
6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
a thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
4 chilis, sliced
1 tbsp. of Sichuan peppercorns
a handful of unroasted peanuts (roughly chopped, if you prefer)
a carrot, thinly sliced (optional)
a bell pepper, diced (optional)
chopped greens (onion leaves or parsley), for garnish
1 c. of cooking oil

For the marinade:

1 tbsp. of light soy sauce
1 tsp. of salt
2 tbsps. of rice wine
1 tbsp. of rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. of sesame seed oil
3 tbsps. of corn or tapioca starch

For the sauce:

1 tbsp. of light soy sauce
4 tbsps. of rice wine
4 tbsps. of chicken broth (or water)
1 tbsp. of sugar
1 tbsp. of rice vinegar
1 tbsp. of corn or tapioca starch

Place the diced chicken in a bowl. Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and pour into the bowl. Mix well. Allow to sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Heat the cooking oil in a wok. When smoking, add the Sichuan peppercorns and chilis. Stir fry until fragrant. Add the marinated chicken, moving the pieces around to separate them (depending on the size of your wok, you may have to do this in batches). Cook just until the chicken turns a light brown. Scoop everything out — chicken, chilis and peppercorns — and transfer to a strainer.

Pour off the oil, leaving only about three tablespoonfuls. Reheat until smoking. Add the garlic and ginger; stir fry for a few seconds. Add the peanuts (and carrot and bell pepper, if using) and stir fry until it smells roasted. Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce, pour into the wok, stirring fast. Return the chicken, chilis and Sichuan peppercorns to the wok. Toss and stir to coat each piece of chicken with sauce. Turn off the heat. Transfer the cooked kung pao chicken to a platter, garnish with chopped greens and serve at once.

Kung Pao Chicken | casaveneracion.com


  1. Maripi says

    I had Manchurian chicken at a Chinese restaurant in Toronto. It was very spicy and very flavourful. It looks like the kung pao chicken. Does anyone know if it’s the same dish? If not, I’d like the recipe for it too and if possible, the history of the dish. Thanks in advance.

  2. Kai says

    Maripi, you are obviously new to the blog which would make your post forgivable, but for future reference, Miss Connie does not post recipes as requested. The intent of the blog is to document her “adventures” and “creations” in her kitchen. They are subject to her whim and what piques her interest that day. We are only so lucky that she shares these through her blog.

    If I were you, I’d quit being so demanding and just enjoy the “ride”. There are plenty of “discoveries” here daily.

    • Maripi says

      Thank you Kai for warning me. I didn’t mean to be demanding. I was hoping other readers would respond and share what they knew. I am obviously new.

    • Robert says

      Wow sounds like this website is a cult. She asked a simple question, no need to call her demanding. All hail ms connie. From 1968 until 2005 it was illegal to import Sichuan peppercorns into the United States. They were viewed as potential carriers of citrus canker, a tree disease that can potentially harm citrus crops. The ban has now been lifted in light of new processing methods. This is why recipes dont include the peppercorns enlightened one.

      • Connie says

        I wish that you’d clicked the Sichuan peppercorn link in the entry — then you’d know that the information has already been provided.

        But then you appear to be more intent in giving my readers a lecture on ethics. Ironic that you seem to think that your sarcasm doesn’t call for a lecture on ethics as well.

  3. monin says

    I try this one.Thank you connie for all the recipes you posted.Its really help me a lot.We are now in nz my husband is an RN here till hardwork and do overtime.He can still do smile and kiss me and whisper ang sarap ng luto mo kinikilig pa rin ako.Thanks.

  4. Meg Mationg says

    Hi Connie,
    Will it be the same if I use rice wine vinegar as replacement for the rice wine and rice vinegar in the marinade?
    Thanks so much,

    • Connie says

      No. You’ll just get the taste of the vinegar but no full-bodied flavor of the rice wine.