Kung Pao Chicken is easy to make and so delicious. Satisfy your Asian food craving without leaving the house with a dish that’s ready in about 30 minutes!
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Asian food is one of my favorite cuisines. I love the flavors, the variety, and the vibrant colors. The problem is, many dishes at Asian restaurants are high in calories and sodium, and the dinner portions are huge. Because of that, I’ve begun making more Asian style recipes at home. Most of the basic sauces are widely available at grocery stores, and many are very easy to make at home.
One day a recipe for Kung Pao Chicken appeared on my Facebook feed, and I immediately stopped what I was doing to check out the recipe. My dad was visiting at the time, so I had great plans to make it. But when it’s just me and my dad we eat out quite a bit, so that never happened. I did make it a few weeks later, and Kung Pao Chicken quickly became one of my favorite recipes.
KEYS TO THE PERFECT KUNG PAO CHICKEN
- Toast the peanuts first, to release the oils and deepen the flavors. I use Roasted & Salted Peanuts
- Marinate the chicken for 15-20 minutes. That’s really all you need, because you add the sauce towards the end
- Don’t add the marinade into the pan with the chicken; it’s too much liquid, and the sauce gets clumpy. Nobody wants clumpy sauce
- Start off with heating Red Pepper Flakes in the sesame oil or avocado oil. Less is more with pepper flakes, and you can always add more at the end
- Add color! I use bell peppers, red onion, and snow peas. I usually have green, red and yellow peppers in the fridge, so I use them all
A DELICIOUS MARINADE & SAUCE FOR KUNG PAO CHICKEN
I had no idea Kung Pao sauce was so easy to make, and requires so few ingredients. Most Asian sauces have Sesame Oil as an ingredient. Sesame oil is very powerful, and for a long time I wouldn’t use it and substituted regular oil. In the last year, I’ve slowly started introducing it. Depending on how much the recipe calls for, I’ll sometimes use all sesame oil, and sometimes use half Avocado Oil.
Both the marinade and sauce also contain balsamic vinegar. My friend Dianne introduced me to Lucero Balsamic Vinegar; since I tried it, I’ve never looked back. It is not widely available in grocery stores, but I buy it online. Yes, it’s more expensive than what is in the grocery store, but there is no comparison. It is thick and rich and, because of that, a little goes a long way.
Kung Pao Chicken is a regular on my recipe rotation, and is the perfect way to satisfy my Asian food craving.
Adapted from Penney Lane
SHOP THIS RECIPE
- 2 boneless/skinless chicken thighs, diced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 Tablespoon avocado oil or canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup red onion, sliced
- handful of snow peas, sliced diagonally in thirds
- 2 Tablespoons peanuts (I use roasted & salted)
- 4 green onions, chopped
- Combine soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, canola oil, and cornstarch in a bowl until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Marinate chicken for 15 minutes
- Combine sauce ingredients in a separate bowl, and stir until cornstarch is dissolved. Set aside.
- In large wok or skillet, toast peanuts over medium heat for 3 minutes. Toss occasionally, until golden brown. Remove and set aside
- In same wok or skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and crushed red pepper flakes. When flakes begin to sizzle, add bell peppers and onion. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until slightly softened. Add in garlic and ginger, and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken, combine, and cook for 5-7 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink.
- Reduce heat to medium, and add snow peas. Add sauce slowly, about 1/2 Tablespoon at a time, tossing well each time.
- Garnish with spring onions and peanuts, and serve over rice