Healthier than our favorite takeaway, this Kung Pao Chicken has deeply satisfying umami flavors, all thanks to a perfectly balanced All-Purpose Chinese Stir Fry Brown Sauce. And it’s ready in under 30 minutes!
Why you should try this stirfry recipe:
- Quick and easy
- Easily found ingredients
- Loaded with vegetables and lean protein
- Low carb count per serving
- Can be served with cauliflower rice or jasmine rice
- No unnecessary additives and grease
One of the all-time Chinese takeaway favorites, this Kung pao chicken is a nod to PF Chang’s and Panda Express. Just so easy to prep and toss together in a wok to create a satisfying takeaway style, yet very wholesome meal in just 30 minutes.
To make weeknight dinners even faster, prep the vegetables ahead of time, and refrigerate. The stirfry sauce can be prepared in larger quantities, and stored in your fridge as well.
What is Kung Pao Chicken?
Made popular by American-Chinese chain restaurants like PF Changs and Panda Express, Kung Pao chicken is chicken stir-fried with loads of vegetables and all tossed together with a special All-Purpose Chinese Stir Fry Sauce. It is really that easy.
There are three quick parts to this dish
Step 1: Chicken Marinade (Velveting Of Chicken)
- Chinese cooking wine
- Cornstarch (read on for keto/low-carb version)
- Egg whites
Step 2: All Purpose Stir Fry Sauce
For the Chinese stir-fry sauce
Chinese cooking wine
Chinese black vinegar
Step 3: Stir Fry
- Red Bell Peppers/Red Capsicum
Step By Step Instructions To Make Kung Pao Chicken
Three are three easy steps to this dish.
Step 1 – Velveting of chicken ( Chicken Marinade)
Velveting of chicken is basically marinating chicken in a mixture of egg whites, cornstarch, water, and Chinese cooking wine (Xiao Xing / Shao Shing wine). Just 15-20 minutes is enough.
Velveting seals in the juices and keeps the chicken juicy and succulent even after stir-frying. Please do not skip this step.
Step 2 – Making the stir-fry sauce
While the chicken is marinating, make the sauce and keep it ready. It is a very versatile sauce and can be used for many other Chinese dishes.
Its made of soy sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, Chinese black vinegar, and sesame oil – the star flavor of Chinese cuisine.
Step 3 – Stir-Frying
A wok or a deep pan are good options for stirfry. Woks are made of carbon steel. Because of how thin they are, woks are perfect for quick stir-frying and getting that perfect smokey flavor. They help keep the vegetables crisp, and not overcooked and soggy.
- Roast peanuts in the hot wok and keep them aside.
- Add chicken pieces in small batches – just enough so they are not too crowded in the pan. Too much chicken in a will make it sweat and lose the juices. Keeping the batch small will ensure succulent quick stir-fried chicken.
- Keep aside the chicken and move on to the vegetables.
- Heat wok. Once the wok is hot, add oil and wait till it smokes slightly.
- Then working quickly add dried red chilies, garlic, ginger, and onions.
- Fry over high heat, then add zucchini and red capsicum (red bell peppers) and stir fry quickly over high heat.
- Lastly, add the stirfry sauce and let it simmer till it thickens and gets glossy.
- Stir in roasted peanuts
- Garnish with greens of your choice (optional)
What to serve with Kung Pao Chicken
Here are some suggestions to pair with this stir-fry
How many carbs are there in cornstarch?
There are about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for 4 servings, which totals to 3.5 g of carbs per serving from cornstarch. To reduce the carb contents, substitute the cornstarch from the sauce with half a teaspoon of xanthan gum.
How long will Kung Pao Chicken last in the fridge?
Kung Pao chicken will stay in the fridge for 3-4 days. However, the vegetables might lose some of their crispiness.
Can this dish be frozen?
Yes, Kung Pao Chicken can be frozen for up to 2 months.
What do I do with the leftover egg yolks?
How about a sweet treat – Here are some leftover egg yolk cookies for you to try.
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Kung Pao Chicken
Velveting Chicken (Marinade)
- 400 g chicken sliced thing against grain
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Chinese Cooking Wine Xiao Xing
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
- 1 tbsp Chinese Cooking Wine
- 1 tbsp Chinese Black Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Cornstarch
- 1 tsp Pepper ground
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 4 tbsp Peanuts
- 2 red chilies dry
- 1/2 tsp White Pepper Ground
- 1 cup Onion chopped
- 1 tbsp Ginger grated
- 1 tbsp Garlic diced
- 2 cups Zucchini
- 2 cups Red Bell Pepper Red Capsicum
- 4 tbsp Spring Onions
For Marinade (Velveting Chicken)
- In a bowl, add chicken, Chinese cooking wine, cornstarch, egg whites, salt.
- Mix well, cover and keep aside for 15-20 minutes.
- Mix Chinese cooking wine, Oyster Sauce, Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Black Vinegar, and cornstarch and stir well.
- Heat wok or deep pan.
- Add a few drops of oil.
- Add peanuts and roast well. Remove from wok and set aside.
- Add some oil and heat till smoking point.
- Add marinated chicken in small batches and stir-fry till lightly browned. Do not crowd the pan.
- Remove chcken from pan and keep aside.
- Wipe clean the wok and add remaining oil.
- Add red chiles, onions, garlic and ginger to the wok and stir-fry till cooked well.
- Add the remaining vegetables like zucchini, red capsicum (red bell pepper), and continue to stir-fry.
- Add cooked chicken and stir-fry sauce and lower the heat to let the sauce simmer – about 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, garmish with roast peanuts, spring onions and serve hot.