Asian Cuisine Chinese Cuisine

Kung Pao Chicken – The Best Ingredients To Use

raw chicken meat on brown wooden chopping board

Kung Pao Chicken is a popular stir-fry dish from Szechuan cuisine. Ingredients in Kung Pao Chicken consists of small chunks of chicken, peanuts, vegetables and chili peppers stir-fried in a salty and sweet sauce. It is believed to have originated in the Sichuan province of China and has become popular all around the world. Kung Pao Chicken is usually served with steamed rice and can be made with a variety of vegetables, such as celery and bell peppers. The dish gets its name from Ding Baozhen, a late 19th century Chinese governor who was also known as Kung Pao.

People often serve the dish with a condiment made of equal parts soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili oil. You can serve it as an appetizer or as the main course in a Chinese meal. You can also adjust the dish to accommodate any dietary restrictions; vegetarian versions are available, substituting vegetables for chicken. Kung Pao Chicken is a delicious and flavorful dish all around the world.  It’s sure to satisfy everyone’s taste buds!

Ingredients in Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken is a dish that’s perfect for any occasion, and it’s easy to make with the right ingredients. Ingredients in Kung Pao Chicken include the combination of chicken, peanut, chili pepper and other seasonings, that makes this classic Chinese dish a favorite among diners all over the world. To make Kung Pao Chicken at its best, you need to select the finest ingredients.

Marinade ingredients in Kung Pao Chicken: 

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese Shaoxing wine 
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil 
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced 

Sauce ingredients in Kung Pao Chicken: 

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese Shaoxing wine  
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon black vinegar 
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water 
  • 2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce or paste, or to taste  

Stir-fry ingredients in Kung Pao Chicken: 

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced 
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts 
  • 3 dried red chilies, stems removed, chopped  
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil 
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts separated, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced 
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 

Once you have all the ingredients ready, you can begin cooking the kung pao chicken. 


Once the chicken and vegetables are ready, it’s time to start cooking! 

  1. Our Kung Pao Chicken recipe is full of flavor and texture. We start by marinating chicken pieces in a mixture of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and garlic for 30 minutes. This gives the chicken a nice savory flavor and helps to tenderize it. 
  2. Then we stir-fry the chicken with red bell peppers, onion, peanuts and a spicy mixture of chili paste, garlic and ginger. The result is a spicy-sweet flavor that can be adjusted to personal preference.
  3. There are many variations of kung pao chicken, depending on the region and individual preference. In some areas it is prepared with more vegetables or even diced tofu as an alternative to chicken. 
  4. Serve it over steamed white rice for an easy weeknight meal. Enjoy!

This Kung Pao Chicken recipe is perfect for those who love a bit of heat. The chili paste and garlic give it a wonderful kick that will leave your taste buds tingling. The peanuts provide a nice crunchy contrast to the soft chicken, bell peppers and onion while the sesame oil adds an underlying nutty flavor.  Whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight meal or an impressive dish to serve for a special occasion, this Kung Pao Chicken recipe is sure to please. Serve it with a side of steamed white rice and you have a complete meal that your family will love. Enjoy!

What to serve with Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken is a popular Chinese stir-fry dish that is full of flavor and texture. You can serve it as the main course for a meal or as an appetizer. To bring out the flavors of the Kung Pao Chicken, it is important to choose accompaniments that will complement its spiciness and sweetness.

  • The best accompaniment options for Kung Pao Chicken are steamed white or brown rice, plain noodles, Chinese pancakes, vegetable dishes such as sautéed string beans or stir-fried bok choy, and hard boiled eggs. These side dishes allow the flavors of the chicken to stand out because they don’t overpower its taste.
  • In addition to these basic accompaniments, there are some more creative options that will make a Kung Pao Chicken meal extra delicious. Consider making egg rolls with ground chicken and shredded vegetables, or steamed dumplings filled with mushrooms and pork. These dishes can be served as appetizers or main courses depending on the size of your party.
  • For drinks, choose a Chinese tea like jasmine or oolong to bring out the flavors of the Kung Pao Chicken. Or mix up some flavors with fruit juices such as pineapple or guava and a splash of blackberry liqueur.

A meal featuring Kung Pao Chicken can be truly memorable if you choose the right accompaniments. Steaming hot white or brown rice, light noodles, vegetable dishes, and creative appetizers will bring out the flavor of this beloved Chinese dish. Be sure to serve cold drinks alongside it to keep everyone cool while they enjoy their meal. With these side dishes, your Kung Pao Chicken experience is sure to be a hit!


Why is it called Kung Pao?

The name ‘Kung Pao’ comes from Ding Baozhen, a late 19th century governor of Shandong province in China, who was famous as Gongbao or Kung Pao. Ding loved spicy food and enjoyed the dish so much that it became named after him.

Difference between Kung Pao Chicken & Szechuan chicken?

Szechuan chicken and Kung Pao Chicken are two popular Chinese dishes that have a lot of similarities, but there are also some key differences between them. 

Szechuan chicken is usually made with marinated chunks of chicken stir-fried with red chillies, garlic, onions, ginger and Szechuan peppercorn. It is a spicy dish with a numbing, tingly sensation from the Szechuan peppercorn that adds to its flavor. Kung Pao Chicken is also stir-fried and has many of the same ingredients as Szechuan chicken, but it also typically includes peanuts or cashews, celery and bell peppers. This dish is usually much sweeter than Szechuan chicken and has a mild spiciness compared to its Szechuan counterpart.

What’s the difference between General Tso or kung pao?

General Tso and Kung Pao are both Chinese dishes, but they differ in ingredients and preparation. General Tso is a sweet-and-sour dish made with marinated deep-fried chicken chunks in a sauce of soy sauce, vinegar, chili peppers, and ginger. Kung Pao is a spicy stir-fry dish with marinated chicken, vegetables, and peanuts cooked in a sauce of soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and chili peppers. Typically, you can serve both dishes over rice or noodles. The main difference between General Tso and Kung Pao is the flavor profile – General Tso is sweet-and-sour while Kung Pao is spicy.

What ingredients are in kung pao sauce?

Kung Pao sauce is a popular Chinese condiment that typically includes hot chili pepper, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and either vinegar or rice wine. Usually, you can use these ingredients to season stir-fried dishes like Kung Pao chicken. Other then these, you might want to use some scallions, sugar, salt and other spices. The combination of these ingredients results in a rich and spicy flavor. This sauce is widely available at most Asian grocery stores. What’s more, you can also make it at home using these basic ingredients, allowing for adjustments to cater to individual taste preferences.

Is Kung Pao chicken white or dark meat?

Kung Pao chicken typically has either white or dark meat chicken. The type of chicken used to make Kung Pao chicken depends on personal preference and the recipe. Some recipes call for only one type of meat, while others use a combination of both. White meat chicken, such as breast meat, is generally leaner and has a milder flavor than dark meat.

Final Words

In conclusion, if you combine the perfect mix of delicious ingredients and flavors, Kung Pao Chicken will easily become an instant hit with your guests. With its unique flavor profile, it’s sure to satisfy even the pickiest eater. From the succulent pieces of chicken to the flavorful mix of garlic and chilies, it offers an unforgettable meal that everyone will enjoy. So, what are you waiting for? Gather your favorite ingredients and give this classic dish a try today – you won’t regret it! 

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