Kung Pao Chicken

Dried chiles sizzled in oil add just enough heat to this savory-sweet Sichuan classic.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    40 minutes


By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on June 30, 2024

The Sichuan dish gong bao ji ding—often better known by its Americanized name kung pao chicken—is a dainty assemblage of small, plump chicken morsels, peanuts, and scallions, with just enough chiles to give it a kick. This recipe is adapted from China Club, a private club in Beijing that serves a thrilling menu of classic Chinese dishes: spicy Sichuan, delicate Cantonese, and rich Shanghainese, with refined versions of Beijing specialties as well.

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  • 4 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3 Tbsp. Shaoxing wine
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. chicken stock
  • 4 tsp. Chinkiang (black) vinegar (or substitute balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. Chinese dark soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable or peanut oil
  • 12 small dried red chiles, stemmed, halved crosswise, and seeded
  • 5 scallions, white part only, thickly sliced crosswise
  • 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • One ½-in. piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ cup shelled, skinless raw peanuts


Step 1

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and the cornstarch. Add the chicken, toss well, and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

Step 2

Meanwhile, in a separate medium bowl, stir together the Shaoxing wine, stock, sugar, sesame oil, vinegar, dark soy sauce, and the remaining soy sauce.

Step 3

To a large wok or nonstick skillet over high heat, add the vegetable oil. When it’s just beginning to smoke, add the chiles, half the scallions, the garlic, ginger, and the marinated chicken, and stir-fry until the chicken is golden, 3–5 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture and continue stir-frying until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes more.

Step 4

Stir in the peanuts, garnish with the remaining scallions, and serve immediately.

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