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Kung pao chicken

Kung pao chicken is a popular dish in Szechuan cuisine. The dish consists of diced chicken, chunks of scallions, and peanuts, seasoned with dried chili, anise pepper, and a tasty sauce.


1 1⁄2 c chicken (boneless and skinless, diced)
2 T water
1⁄3 c peanuts (shelled)
6 chili (or to taste, red dried chili, halved and deseeded)
1 t anise pepper (whole peppercorns)
4 scallion (cut into chunks)
3 clv garlic (peeled and sliced)
4 sli ginger (fresh ginger, peeled)
5 t vinegar (black rice vinegar)
1 t wine (Shaoxing rice wine)
2 t sugar


Put peanuts into a pan. Toast over low heat. Stir from time to time to evenly heat the nuts. Remove from the heat when lightly brown. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Put the dice chicken into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water. Mix until no more liquid can be seen. Add sesame oil. Stir to coat the chicken evenly. Set aside for 20 minutes.

Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine, sugar, 2 tesponns of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water to a bowl for the sauce. Mix well and set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat. Pour in cooking oil, then add dried chillies and anise pepper. As soon as you smell the fragrance from the spices, put in the marinated chicken. Stir fry for 30-60 seconds.

Add scallions, garlic & ginger. Continue frying until the chicken completely loses its pink colour.

Give the sauce a good stir then pour into the wok. Stir to evenly coat the chicken. Turn off the heat as soon as the sauce thickens.

Stir in the toasted peanuts. Dish out then serve immediately.

Total time
35 minutes
Cooking time
Preparation time
6 servings


Kung pao chicken is best served with plain rice. The dish is usually served hot. 

The dried chilli and Szechuan pepper are for flavoring the main ingredients in the dish, and are not typically eaten.


You can replace the chicken with tofu or king oyster mushroom for a vegetarian/vegan version of the dish. Other meats like beef, pork, fish, or scallop can also be used. 

Some restaurants, particularly those outside China, add vegetables such as cucumber, bell pepper, onion, or celery to the dish.


Kung pao chicken, also known as gong bao or kung po, originates from Szechuan province, China. It's believed to be named after Ding Baozhen, a governor of Sichuan in the late Qing Dynasty, whose private chef invented this dish.

Szechuan cuisine (China)

poultry, spices
side dish, stir-fry
Chinese food recipes 
Food in Asia