Kung Pao Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken is a delicious stir fried chicken dish with a both sweet and salty flavor that is accompanied with a little pizazz of spiciness. This Panda Express Kung Pow Chicken copycat recipe is so delicious you will never need to go to a restaurant again for this Asian inspired cuisine.
Serve it with delicious egg rolls, an appetizer of egg drop soup, and a side of fried rice for the perfect meal!
Ditch the takeout and make your own delicious Kung Pow chicken right in your very own kitchen. This Kung Pao Chicken recipe is a simple, easy to make flavorful dish for the whole family to enjoy.
Healthier and even more delicious, this better than take out Kung Pao Chicken recipe is one for the books. It’s a tasty meal that can be prepped, cooked, and plated in just 30 minutes which makes for the perfect, hectic weeknight dinner.
What Is Kung Pao Chicken?
It is just one of my most favorite Chinese sir fry dishes. That’s what it is.
It is a flavorful Chinese recipe that contains chicken of course, along with vegetables and typically chili peppers. It has the elements of saltiness, and sweet with some spicy flavor.
However, spoiler alert for this recipe I don’t use dried chili peppers.
Why I don’t Use Dried Red Chili Peppers?
Don’t get me wrong dried chili peppers are typically in a classic kung pow chicken dish. However, they aren’t always easy to find at your local grocery store, so I simply don’t use them for this recipe.
I like to keep my recipes as eazy peazy as possible and searching for a hard to find ingredient doesn’t sound eazy peazy to me.
Don’t worry though this recipe packs plenty enough flavor without them.
How To Make Kung Pao Chicken:
It’s pretty easy actually.
In a nutshell:
- Marinade your chicken.
- Make your sauce.
- Stir fry your ingredients in different stages.
- Combine everything to stir fry together.
- Serve over rice.
Not too hard, right?
- Make your marinade by mixing rice wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil
- Marinade chicken, cover, and refrigerate
- Combine sauce ingredients in a separate bowl
- In a skillet cook marinated chicken (with marinade)
- Remove cooked chicken and add garlic, ginger, peppers, and carrots. Stir fry.
- Stir in sauce mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly
- Once thickened, add chicken and broccoli
- Mix all ingredients until chicken is evenly coated and sauce has thickened
- Stir in green onions and peanuts.
- Toss well and cook for 1-2 minutes
- Serve over rice.
Why You HAVE to Marinade Your Chicken:
Don’t skip the marinading step. If there ever was a time to trust me, trust me on this. It may be tempting to skip this step but don’t.
- More taste is added to the chicken.
- It helps tenderize the chicken.
Note: For even more overall detailed instructions on this dish, see recipe at the end.
It sounds like a lot of steps, but trust me the prep isn’t too labor intensive and your whole meal will come together in about 30 minutes. Now you can’t say that about a lot of home cooked meals, can you?
Kung Pao Sauce:
The sauce is the key player to this whole dish. There are plenty of other chicken stir fry dishes with veggies, even peanuts, but it’s the sauce that separates this dish from the rest.
Here’s the secret sauce to this great meal.
- Soy Sauce
- Rice Wine
- Distilled White Vinegar
- Brown Sugar
- Garlic Clove
- Chili Paste
Mix these ingredients together and you are on your way to a great dish.
What Kind Of Chicken To Use?
What kind of chicken should you use for kung pao chicken or general tso’s chicken? First off for both dishes, cut chicken into chunks. I like to use chicken breast, but you can use chicken thighs too.
Why Chicken Breast?:
- Lower Calorie
- Less Fat
Why Chicken Thighs?:
- More flavor
- Some say the fat is a healthy fat
Good news if you like chicken thighs better it is not a deal breaker. Go ahead and sub out chicken breast for thighs. No judgements here. Both work great.
How To Adjust Spiciness Of Your Kung Pao Chicken:
Dried chili peppers contributes to the heat factor. In this recipe there are no dried peppers, but if you wanted to up the spiciness you could add those to the dish. A local Asian Market should carry them.
Another way to adjust the level of heat is to be selective with your chili paste. There are a variety out there. So pay attention to the chili paste you use. It matters.
How To Store Leftovers:
Leftovers are my favorite. It’s like a bonus.
If you can resist eating the whole dish right up in one sitting, then store this dish in the refrigerator and as usual store the dish in an air tight container. It should last for up to 3 days.
Then just simply reheat in the microwave.
Can You Freeze Kung Pao Chicken?
Great news, you can.
Use freezer bags or an air tight container and after cooking and cooling, put it in the container and transfer to the freezer. It should stay good for about 2 months.
How To Serve Kung Pao Chicken:
Serve Kung Pao Chicken over rice or noodles. It makes for a great stand alone dish, but goes great with an Asian inspired soup like Egg Roll in a Bowl.
Forget About Takeout! Make Kung Pao Chicken At Home.
Convenient and fast, this Kung Pao Chicken recipe can be whipped up quicker than it takes to order and wait for it to be delivered. Plus it is much better too.
Wait no longer to make this fantastic and flavorful dish.
Other Asian Inspired Favorites:
- Honey Asian Chicken
- Chicken Fried Rice
- Garlic Chicken Lo Mein
- Asian Lemon Chicken
- Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken
Other Chicken Recipes
Video Tutorial for Kung Pao Chicken:
Kung Pao Chicken
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast halves - cut into chunks
- 1 tablespoons rice wine
- 1 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoons sesame oil divided
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup rice wine
- 1 tablespoons distilled white Vinegar
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 teaspoons of chile paste
- 1 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons of water
- 2 Tbs cooking oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 Tablespoon ginger
- 1 8 ounce can water chestnuts, drained
- ½ cup sliced carrots
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
- 1/2 red bell pepper capsicum seeded and diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper capsicum seeded and diced
- 4 green onions chopped
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
To Make Marinade:
- Combine 1 tablespoon rice wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and mix together.
- Place chicken pieces in a glass dish or bowl and add marinade. Toss to coat. Cover dish and place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes white you prepare other ingredients.
To Make Sauce:
- In a small bowl combine sauce ingredients, mix together, and set aside.
- In a large skillet (pan or wok), heat 2 Tablespoons of cooking oil, and once hot, add marinated chicken (with marinade).
- Cook chicken for 3-4 minutes stirring only occasionally. You want the edges to brown, then remove chicken from pan and set aside.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of cooking oil to the same skillet, and stir in garlic, ginger, diced peppers and carrots, and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the sauce mixture, and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly.
- When it starts to thicken add chicken back into the pan and stir in the broccoli.
- Mix all of the ingredients through the sauce until the chicken is evenly coated and sauce has thickened, (about 2 minutes).
- Stir in green onions, and peanuts, toss well and continue to cook for a further 1- 2 minutes.
- Serve immediately over steamed rice!
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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