Kung Pao Chicken

There are no really good Chinese restaurants in Las Cruces. At least none that I have come upon so far.

This has lead to me sharpening up my Chinese cooking skills. It have tried to find good substitutes for my favorites, and frankly,  I’ve been pretty successful. In succeeding weeks you shall get a few more that I’ve made and declared as good as good restaurant fare.

I like my Chinese food in a certain way. I like it spicy and anything with hot peppers is gonna catch my eye. I love Kung Pao chicken for this reason, and I like chicken dishes.

I don’t like sweet and sour, since I find the ying yang thing all wrong when it comes to food. I got this recipe from Appetite for China.

I have changed a few things, one of which I will share. Almost all Chinese recipes that require a marinade of the meat include cornstarch in the marinade. This is fine until you drop it in sizzling oil, where it always gets all gummy and coats the bottom of the pan or wok with a gluey hard gunk that I don’t like. So  I don’t include the cornstarch in the marinade. I include it at the end to thicken the sauce.

I also add lots of vegetables to the dish, and you can use whatever you  have on hand. I’ll include what I typically use, but as I said, it has more to do with what’s on hand. With that, do read on.


  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast or thigh, cut into bite-size bits.
  • 2 tbsp oil (I always use canola)
  • 8-10 dried red chiles
  • 5 scallions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 c unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts


  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice wine or dry sherry


  • 1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar or balsamic
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp ground Sichuan pepper
  • 2-4 cups of assorted veggies, cleaned and suitably cut up into bite-size pieces. (carrots, cabbage, celery, bok choy, bean sprouts, broccoli)


  1. Marinate the chicken in the marinade for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Prepare the sauce leaving out the cornstarch, placing it in just before you are ready to pop it into the pan to coat the food.
  3. Take your chiles and make slits in them so some of the dried seeds can escape and become part of the dish. Don’t do this if you don’t like heat. Add the oil to the pan and saute the chiles until they start to darken. On high heat, add the chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink. This doesn’t take long– 2-3 minutes is usually enough.
  4. Remove the chicken and add your veggies, starting with the longest cooking until they are all in and crunchy but done. Remove to the chicken.
  5. Add the scallions, garlic and ginger, stir fry for a minute or so. Add the sauce (having added the cornstarch now, stirring until it thickens. Pour in the chicken and veggies and stir to coat. Add the peanuts and stir. Place on a serving dish and sprinkle additional scallions and peanuts on top.
  6. Serve over rice.

Serves: 2-4

Notes: You can serve over rice noodles or other suitable noodles such as cellophane. As I said, feel free to alter the vegetables as you desire. If you are using 4 cups of veggies to serve like 4 servings, I would double the sauce ingredients so that you have enough to coat it nicely. And do avoid eating any of the chiles. They are rather on the hot side!


5 thoughts on “Kung Pao Chicken

  1. Pingback: New Kung Pao Chicken | What's On the Stove?

  2. The picture of your kung pao recipe is really confusing. The chicken bites appear deep fried before tossing in the sauce. Does the chicken have a skin on it?

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