The recipe for Kung Pao chicken is certainly one of the most popular dishes in Chinese cuisine. And I think it’s one of the favorite recipes for many. Definitely for me. I can really eat Kung Pao almost every day.
Kung Pao is a classic that you can often enjoy in the restaurant or as a takeout. But it’s actually pretty easy to do at home. And more importantly, your homemade Kung Pao will often taste even better.
Some Kung Pao chicken recipes may differ slightly. I understand that a lot of people adapt it to their tastes. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that.
In my opinion, however, this amazing Sichuan dish tastes best when it is made properly with traditional ingredients.
What is Kung Pao chicken made of?
Kung Pao chicken recipe comes from China, more precisely from Sichuan Province. This region is characterized, among other things, by Sichuan peppercorns and their interesting flavor.
Sichuan pepper is very specific and it is not easy to describe its taste. The peppercorns of this spice are mildly spicy and have a delightful citrus aroma, which gives the tingling feeling to the tip of the tongue.
The recipe for Kung Pao chicken is known almost all over the world, and it is the Sichuan spice that makes this dish so unique and that has “moved” it to the Western world.
If you want to make an original Kung Pao, you can’t leave out this unusual spice.
In case that you are not familiar with Sichuan peppercorns, start with a little bit. The tingling, numbing effect can truly surprise you. I have to say that as I cooked Kung Pao for the first time, I added almost two tablespoons of Sichuan pepper and it was definitely way too much. It was so pungent and strong that I couldn’t taste any other flavors of the dish. And I was probably the only one who finished the plate.
As it is a lesser-known and very specific spice, it must be handled with care at the beginning. Try to start with only half a teaspoon. You can gradually add more at a time. And don’t forget to crush Sichuan peppercorns beforehand.
How to make Kung Pao chicken?
With traditional Kung Pao, the harmony of the right technique (stir fry) and suitable ingredients is essential.
As for the technique, it is important to stir fry everything in a wok at really high heat. The procedure is similar to this hoisin chicken stir fry recipe. The wok can be even a little hotter.
That is why it is necessary to cut everything into small pieces so that the ingredients can be nicely cooked or fried in such a short time. The whole cooking itself should take you only about 7 minutes.
For this reason, I recommend chicken breasts, which are quickly done and yet remain very juicy. Before cooking, don’t forget to slice them and marinate them for at least 15 minutes.
In addition to the marinated meat, we need to make a sauce, which you add just before finishing Kung Pao. The presence of corn starch is important, which guarantees a characteristic thickness.
The marinade and sauce for an authentic Kung Pao recipe should also include Shaoxing wine. It is a Chinese rice wine that is commonly available in Asian supermarkets.
If you really want to enjoy the traditional Kung Pao chicken, make it with these unique ingredients. I guarantee you that Sichuan spices, Shaoxing wine, and the right technique will take your Kung Pao to another level.Print