Chicken Kung Pao

Chicken Kung Pao
This is one of China’s most famous dishes. Even in our Dutch Chinese restaurants you can order Chicken Kung Pao. Not always recognizable, but hey, it’s on the menu! And maybe the same can even be said about the Chicken Kung Pao served in Beijing? Originally, it’s a sichuanese dish, so it should be hot, hot, hot (and probably even numbing). But in my recollection it wasn’t that hot, it was even a little bit sweet. With lots of peanuts and big chunks of almost leek-like spring onion and just a little bit of chopped dried chiles. With so many versions of this dish, I’m not ashamed to share mine.


400 gr chickenbreast
cut into cubes and marinate in mixture of:
1 T eggwhite, beaten
4 t light soy
4 t shaoxing ricewine
1,5 t cornstarch
0,5 t salt

Heat the wok and stirfry in some oil for a few seconds:
4 smal dried chillies

Then add:
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 cm ginger, chopped

and stirfry untill fragrant, then add the chicken and stirfry for a minute or 2 until browning a little. Then pour :
1 T shaoxin ricewine

from the side of the wok. When it stops sizzling add the sauce, made of:
1 T light soysauce
2 T tomato ketchup
1 T chili sauce

1,5 T clear rice vinegar
3 cm chinese brown sugar
1 T cornstarch
6 T water/chickenbroth

Heat through and add :
80 gr unsalted, roasted cashew nuts
4 spring onions, cut into 1 cm-pieces

Serve with white rice. And my favourite vegetable with this dish is simply cooked green beans. There is so much flavour in the chickendish, you don’t need to do anything fancy with the beans. At least, that’s my philosophy.

The variations I’ve seen: 
* chilisauce, chilibeansauce, no chilisauce
* sichuanpepper, no sichuanpepper
* peanut or cashew
* clear rice vinegar, dark rice vinegar, no vinegar
* light soysauce, dark soysauce or both
* ginger, no ginger
* chickenbreast, chicken thigh

Kip Kung Pao met boontjes en rijst

About Robin

I love to cook. Check out my dutch website:
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6 Responses to Chicken Kung Pao

  1. Chrystal says:

    Fell in love with this dish in Beijing, but most of their chefs do use Sichuan pepper in this dish..

    Too bad the Cantonese in the Netherlands have not mastered this dish and I’m afraid they never will.

  2. Béline says:

    First time I tried this ‘bourgeois’ recipe, I tried your recipe. Loved it. Second time, I tried Szechuanist’s star Fuchia’s recipe, loved it, but too much like her Mapo Dofu, tastewise then.
    So far Robin 1-Fuchsia 0.
    However, I am going to try 2 more versions. Since I can’t imagine ketchup is Chinese, I’m going to swap it for tomatopuree but then without the chilisauce (but with the 10 dried chilis from Fuchsia) and I’m going to try a version with tomatopuree and chilisauce instead of the dried chili’s.
    I’ll let you know my final verdict! ;)

  3. Robin says:

    Haha, priceless! Robin 1-Fuchsia 0. Thank you. :-)

    But I don’t think I agree. Lately I’ve been making Fuchsia’s recipe for Gong Bao too and I think I actually prefer it now. The above, with the ketchup was how I remember it from this one restaurant (not a specialized Sichuan restaurant) in Beijing where we had lunch every day and we’d order Chicken Gong bao almost every day.

    Tomato puree is just as non-Chinese as ketchup. So I’m not sure how that would be an improvement. But hey, I think the Chinese are never afraid to progress and change, so go for it.
    And I’m very curious for your results.

  4. Bas says:

    Hey I also really like this dish.
    And I want to make it myself. I was wondering how much do you mean when you say 1 T, is that a tablespoon or theaspoon? And with the marinate you use t and T is that different spoons?

    Thanks very much!

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