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How to Make Authentic Kung Pao Chicken

Ding Baozhen was a scholar who passed the imperial examination during the Xianfeng period of the Qing Dynasty (1850-1861 AD). After being appointed as the governor-general of Sichuan, whenever he hosted banquets, he instructed his household kitchen to stir-fry diced chicken with peanuts, dried chili, and tender chicken meat. The dish, known as "Kung Pao Chicken," became popular among guests due to its tender and delicious flavor. Later, for his meritorious service in defending the border against enemies, he was honored by the court with the title "Tai Zi Shao Bao" and was commonly referred to as "Ding Kung Pao." The stir-fried diced chicken prepared by his household kitchen came to be known as "Kung Pao Chicken."

TIPS:Here is a list of Chinese seasonings used in this recipe, which you can find at your local Chinese supermarket. If you're not familiar with these seasonings, you can click on the "Check Now" button to get them from Amazon.

Lee Kum Kee Premium Light Soy Sauce, 16.9-Ounce + Lee Kum Kee Premium Dark Soy Sauce - 16.9 fl. Ounce + One NineChef Spoon

Ratings 5 from 2 votes
Cooking Method
Courses , ,
Difficulty Beginner
Prep Time: 30 min Cook Time: 10 min Total Time: 40 mins
Servings 2

Kung Pao Chicken, a classic Sichuan dish, is known for its complex flavor profile. It's a mix of spicy, sweet, and a hint of sourness. The tender chicken and crunchy peanuts add a rich texture. The dish starts with a mild numbing spiciness, followed by sweetness, and finishes with a subtle sour note. Its unique "burnt spicy lychee flavor" is a blend of spicy, sweet, sour, and numbing tastes, making it a distinctive and memorable dish.

    Main Ingredient
  • 1 piece Chicken leg (whole chicken leg)
  • 60 grams Peanut
  • 15 grams Ginger
  • 15 grams Garlic
  • 10 grams Dried red chili pepper
  • 3 grams Sichuan peppercorn
  • 1 piece Scallion
  • 50 grams Cooking oil
  • Marinade Ingredient
  • 1 gram Salt
  • 1 gram Sugar
  • 10 grams Light soy sauce
  • 10 grams Cooking wine
  • 10 grams Cornstarch
  • 10 grams Cooking oil
  • 10 grams Clean water
  • Kung Pao Sauce
  • 30 grams Black vinegar
  • 20 grams Sugar
  • 1 gram Salt
  • 5 grams Cooking wine
  • 10 grams Light soy sauce
  • 5 grams Dark soy sauce
  • 5 grams Cornstarch
  1. Debone the chicken legs and cut them into equal cubes. Marinate with salt, sugar, light soy sauce, cooking wine, clean water, and cornstarch, mix it well. Then pour in the oil, mix well again. Let it sit for 20 minutes. Please be mindful to add the oil only after all the seasonings are mixed well. This will help lock in the moisture.

  2. Preparing Kung Pao Sauce: Stir well with black vinegar, sugar, salt, cooking wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and cornstarch.

  3. Pour cooking oil into the pan, heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches medium-high hot(place your hand above the pan and feel the noticeable heat). Add a hand of peanuts, turn the heat to low. Deep fry at medium-low heat for 10 minutes, and then remove the peanuts from the frying pan.

  4. Heat the cooking oil that was just used to fry the peanuts to medium-high, then add the marinated chicken leg pieces. Saute quickly until the surface color changes (medium well) and then pour it out for later use.

  5. With remaining oil, add sliced gingers, sliced garlics, chopped scallion whites, Sichuan peppercorns, and dried red chili peppers. Stir fry until aroma comes out.

  6. Add the chicken leg pieces, stir fry until well mixed, then add the prepared Kung Pao sauce.

  7. Turn to high heat, stir fry for 10 seconds. Finally, add the peanuts and toss well.

  8. Done and dusted. Enjoy it!


Chopped scallions are for seasoning and can be eaten or not, depending on personal preference.

Keywords: Sichuan Cuisine, Spicy and Savory, Peanut