Easy Kung Pao chicken

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Try this easy Kung Pao Chicken for a recipe that will become a regular in your household! Whether you’re a fan of spicy or milder flavors, this dish can easily be adjusted to suit your taste preferences. With just a few key ingredients and simple cooking techniques, you’ll be able to create a flavorful and authentic Asian dish in no time.

Plate of kung pao chicken with chopsticks and rice - a simple and tasty Chinese recipe that can be customized to suit your flavor preferences!

This easy Kung Pao Chicken is a popular Chinese dish that combines spicy, savory, and tangy flavors. It has become a staple in many households because of its easy preparation and delicious taste. In this article, I will be sharing an easy recipe that you can make at home without needing to be a professional chef. My version keeps the essence of the authentic kung pao recipe but simplifies the process, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner or a quick, impressive meal for guests.

Kung pao chicken is a beloved Chinese dish for its bold flavors and tender textures. And this kung pao chicken recipe is my go-to for several reasons. Firstly, its simplicity does not compromise the depth of flavor. The combination of tender chicken, crunchy nuts, and that distinctive kung pao sauce creates a richness in taste that is hard to resist.

Secondly, it’s flexible; whether you’re after something lighter or want to amp up the spice level, this recipe caters to all preferences.

Lastly, it proves that making a mouthwatering recipe at home doesn’t require hours in the kitchen.

How to make easy Kung pao chicken

Flavorful kung pao chicken with chopsticks and rice - an easy-to-make Chinese dish that can be adjusted to your preferred level of spiciness!

Kung pao chicken main ingredients

For this kung pao chicken recipe, the main ingredients you will need include:

  • Chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Dried chilies (adjust according to taste)
  • Peanuts or cashews for that signature crunch
  • Bell peppers for a pop of color and freshness
  • Green onions for an authentic touch

Substitutes

If you find yourself missing an ingredient or two, don’t worry.

  • Peanuts can be replaced with cashews for a different texture, or omitted entirely for those with allergies.
  • For a less spicy version, reduce the number of dried chilies or substitute with sweet peppers that don’t pack heat but still add flavor.
  • Another versatile ingredient in this dish is the bell pepper. While we love the pop of color and crispness it brings, feel free to toss in other vegetables you have on hand. Try adding zucchini for a bit of green or carrots for an extra crunch and sweetness.

Equipment

A wok is ideal for preparing kung pao chicken to achieve that signature stir-fry texture and flavor. However, if you don’t have a wok, a large frying pan will do the trick.

Other equipment needed:

  • Cutting board and knife for chopping ingredients
  • Mixing bowl for sauce preparation
  • Wooden spoon or spatula for stirring and mixing

Preparations

  1. Have all your ingredients prepped and ready before starting to cook; this will help you avoid any mishaps or overcooking.
  2. Make sure you cut the chicken into roughly similar size pieces so they cook evenly. Overcooking will make them chewy and rubbery instead of juicy and tender.
  3. Start by marinating the chicken with cornstarch, soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt and egg white for at least 5 to 15 minutes to tenderize and flavor the meat.
  4. While the chicken is marinating, prepare the sauce by combining soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, sugar, cooking wine, water and black pepper in a mixing bowl. Set it aside for later use.

A plate of delicious kung pao chicken with chopsticks and a bowl of rice, perfect for a flavorful meal!

Tip

For an even deeper flavor, let your chicken marinate for an hour or more before cooking. It allows the meat to absorb all the tasty flavors, resulting in a more flavorful dish. Also, be mindful of the heat when adding dried chilies; it’s easier to start with less and add more according to taste to avoid making the dish too spicy inadvertently.

Notes:

  • Marinating chicken in cornstarch, vinegar, egg white, and soy sauce not only makes chicken extremely flavorful but also provides a protective coating that holds the moisture inside the chicken. This makes it tender from the inside and crispy from the outside.
  • You can add or omit vegetables in stir fry according to your liking.
  • Ensure that the sauce thickens and coats each and every piece of chicken properly before serving.
  • You can use any oil of your choice in the recipe. However, I recommend using peanut oil or sesame oil for the best flavors.
  • To achieve the perfect balance of flavors, make sure to taste and adjust the sauce according to your liking before adding it to the chicken.

Cooking instructions

  1. In a pan, heat oil (2-3tbsp) and fry the chicken pieces on medium heat, stirring occasionally until crisp and golden on the outside and evenly cooked from the inside (3-4 min). Once done transfer the chicken onto a plate.
  2. Next heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan, add chopped ginger and garlic and fry until garlic becomes fragrant.
  3. Add dried red chilies and cubed red and green bell peppers. Stir fry it for a few seconds.
  4. Give the prepared sauce a mix, then pour it into the pan and bring it to a boil.
  5. In a small bowl mix together cornstarch and water and add it to the sauce.
  6. Add green onions, grounded black pepper, and fried chicken to the pan and mix all the ingredients in the sauce until the chicken is evenly coated and the sauce thickens.
  7. Stir in peanuts, toss well, and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Serve hot with rice and enjoy.

Recipe Variations

  1. Kung Pao Tofu – Replace chicken with firm tofu for a vegetarian version.
  2. Kung Pao Shrimp – Switch out chicken for shrimp, adjusting cooking time accordingly.
  3. Kung Pao Cauliflower – A healthier option, using cauliflower florets instead of chicken. Toss them in the sauce and stir-fry until crisp.

What to Serve With

This easy Kung Pao chicken works well with steamed or fried rice, noodles, or even quinoa for a healthier option. For added freshness and texture, you can serve it with a side of steamed broccoli, sautéed vegetables, Asian green beans, spring rolls or a simple nectarine cucumber salad.

Mouthwatering kung pao chicken and rice dish served with chopsticks, a taste of authentic Chinese cuisine!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Yes, you can marinate the chicken and chop the vegetables ahead of time. However, the dish is best enjoyed fresh when all the ingredients are hot and crispy.

How do I store leftovers?

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. For longer storage, freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to two months.

How do I reheat leftovers?

Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a splash of water or broth to prevent drying out.

Can I freeze kung pao chicken?

While it is possible to freeze this dish, the texture and flavor may change once reheated. It’s best enjoyed fresh.

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Serving size and Nutrition Information

This kung pao chicken recipe serves 4 people, with each serving being approximately 1 cup. The nutrition information for one serving is all detailed in the recipe card below. You can also adjust the serving size on the recipe card to get accurate information based on the number of people you are serving.

Try this delicious and easy kung pao chicken recipe at home, and you’ll never want to order takeout again. Customize the spice level and vegetables to your preference, and enjoy a flavorful dish in the comfort of your own home.

Don’t forget to leave a review on the recipe card and let me know in the comments below how this recipe turned out for you! Happy cooking!

Delicious easy kung pao chicken with chopsticks and rice on a plate - a flavorful Chinese dish you can easily adjust to your taste preferences!

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Plate of kung pao chicken with chopsticks and rice - a simple and tasty Chinese recipe that can be customized to suit your flavor preferences!
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Easy Kung Pao chicken

Try this easy kung pao chicken for a recipe that will be a household favorite! Adjust the spice level to your taste for a quick, flavorful Chinese dish!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: easy kung pao chicken, kung pao chicken, kung pao chicken recipe, kung pao recipe
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 395kcal
Author: Petro Neagu

Ingredients

For chicken

  • 2 chicken breasts cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For sauce

  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper powder
  • 2 tablespoons cooking wine
  • ½ cup water

For stir fry

  • 2 tablespoons oil + more for frying chicken
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 4-5 dry red chilies cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 green bell peppe r cut into cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into cubes
  • Green onions cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon corn-starch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts

Equipment

Instructions

  • In a large bowl mix all the ingredients under the chicken section and marinate for at least 5 minutes.
  • Whisk all the ingredients in the sauce section and keep aside while your chicken is marinating.
  • In a pan, heat oil (2-3tbsp) and fry the chicken pieces on medium heat, stirring occasionally until crisp and golden on the outside and evenly cooked from the inside (3-4 min). Once done transfer the chicken onto a plate.
  • Next heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan, add chopped ginger and garlic and fry until garlic becomes fragrant.
  • Add dried red chilies and cubed red and green bell peppers. Stir fry it for a few seconds.
  • Give the prepared sauce a mix, then pour it into the pan and bring it to a boil. In a small bowl mix together cornstarch and water and add it to the sauce.
  • Add green onions, grounded black pepper, and fried chicken to the pan and mix all the ingredients in the sauce until the chicken is evenly coated and the sauce thickens.
  • Stir in peanuts, toss well, and cook for 2 minutes.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 2034mg | Potassium: 884mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1509IU | Vitamin C: 129mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg
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about petro

ABOUT PETRO

Hi, I’m Petro, author and founder of Easy Peasy Creative Ideas. Sewist, crafter, avid DIY-er, foodie, photographer, homemaker and mommy to one. I’m an expert at coming up with quick, clever sewing tips, recycling crafts and simple, easy recipes! You can find my ideas featured in reputable publications such as Country Living, Good House Keeping, Yahoo News, WikiHow, Shutterfly, Parade, Brit & Co and more. Thanks for stopping by and hope you’ll stay for a while, get to know me better and come back another time. Stick around for real fun projects! Read more…

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