Kung Pao Chicken, a spicy and flavorful Szechuan classic, combines chicken breast, Sichuan peppercorns, vegetables, and peanuts in a robust Kung Pao Sauce. Ideal for stir-fry lovers, it's great with rice or noodles for lunch or dinner.
Combine bite-sized chicken pieces, ginger powder, garlic powder, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and corn starch in a bowl.
Stir thoroughly to ensure an even coating. Cover the bowl and let the chicken marinate for a minimum of 10 minutes.
Frying the Chicken
Heat oil in a pan over medium heat, then add the marinated chicken pieces.
Fry them until they achieve a golden brown color on both sides.
Once fried, take the chicken out of the pan and set aside for later use.
Preparing Kung Pao Chicken
Start by preheating your wok over medium-high heat, then pour in the oil. Add ginger, garlic, and red chili, sautéing until they release their aroma.
Add in the scallions and Sichuan peppers, ensuring they're well incorporated.
Add the red, green, and orange bell peppers, giving them a brief but thorough stir.
Blend in the sweet bean sauce, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar, and chicken broth, and mix everything well.
Pour in the cornflour slurry, continuously stirring until the sauce reaches a thickened consistency.
Finally, incorporate the fried chicken into the sauce, tossing it well to ensure even coating. Sprinkle in the roasted peanuts, stir everything together one last time, and there you have it - your homemade Kung Pao Chicken, ready to delight your taste buds.
Enjoy this authentic, restaurant-style Kung Pao Chicken served with white rice, noodles, or your choice of similar accompaniments for a complete and satisfying meal.
Here are some useful tips to perfect your Kung Pao Chicken:
Choice of Chicken: While I use chicken breast, boneless chicken thighs are also a great option for this recipe.
Sichuan Peppers for Authentic Flavor: Sichuan peppers impart a unique citrusy, numbing sensation, a hallmark of Szechuan cuisine. If unavailable, white pepper makes a good substitute.
Shaoxing Wine - A Flavor Booster: This Chinese cooking wine enhances the dish's taste and aroma. No Shaoxing wine? Sherry sauce or apple cider vinegar can step in as substitutes.
Essential Kung Pao Sauce: The sauce is key to distinguishing this dish from other Asian takeouts. Use the recommended ingredients and substitutes as needed to ensure it's just right.
Balancing Sweetness: The sweet bean sauce I've used adds sufficient sweetness to the dish, eliminating the need for sugar. However, if you're not using sweet bean sauce, feel free to add sugar to taste.
Prep Your Ingredients: In Chinese stir-frying, things move fast! Have all your ingredients ready beforehand to make the cooking process smoother.
Achieving Soft, Juicy Chicken: Marinate the chicken with Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and cornstarch. This technique, known as 'velveting,' ensures the chicken stays tender and juicy after frying, just like in Chinese restaurants.