Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Servings 5 people


  • 1 Flat-bottomed wok or large frying pan
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • measuring cups and spoons


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs boneless, skinless, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper white or black
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar granulated
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 bell peppers diced large
  • 2 celery stalks sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, roasted
  • 2 scallions sliced thin (optional)


Marinate the Chicken

  • Add tamari or soy sauce, wine or sherry, cornstarch, sesame oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until the cornstarch is dissolved. Drizzle 2 tablespoons over chicken and mix.
  • Add the vinegar, sugar, and sambal to the remaining marinade and whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
    NOTE: if you're doubling the recipe because you have a lot of chicken, don't double the sambal or you may make it too spicy.

Stir Fry the Veggies and the Chicken

  • Heat pan over medium-high heat. Add tablespoon of oil, followed by the bell peppers and celery. Season with salt and stir fry until crispy-tender and browned in spots (about 4 minutes).
    Add garlic and ginger and stir fry another 30 seconds.
  • Transfer veggies to a plate.
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of oil to the pan, followed by the chicken. Spread evenly across the pan and let cook until golden brown and a little seared on the bottom, 3-4 minutes.
    Stir fry for a couple of minutes, until cooked through.

Combine Everything

  • Add vegetables back in, and add peanuts.
    Give the sauce a quick whisk and pour in. Stir fry until sauce thickens and coats everything, about a minute.
    Sprinkle in scallions and serve over rice.


Originally seen on The Kitchn.  This is one of the first spicy things I've made that my teenagers actually liked.
Other veggies you can try: small mushrooms, zucchini, sliced carrots, and/or chopped onions.
We've also made it with tofu instead of chicken:
  • use extra-firm tofu;
  • squeeze the water out by wrapping in towels or a couple of paper towels, then putting on a plate and leaving something heavy on top for 20-30 minutes;
  • cube the tofu into bite-sized chunks
  • toss with a little cornstarch, then fry over medium heat until all sides are golden-brown.
  • Continue with rest of recipe.
Keyword bell pepper, chicken, garlic, ginger, peanuts, sambal oelek, tofu

Author: H Walker Jones, Esq

A professional programmer with a sordid past involving sysadmin, tech support, and cooking.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: