One of the most popular Chinese takeaway dishes in America is Kung Pao Chicken. A classic Chinese restaurant dish of stir-fried chicken, peanuts, and vegetables, Kung pao chicken is a highly addictive combination of salty, sweet and spicy flavor.
The Szechuan peppercorns’ trademark mouth-numbing heat is present in a sweet and savory glaze that is delicately drizzled over the stir- fried chicken and vegetables.
Even though it is frequently linked to Westerners and “westernized” Chinese food, the genesis of this concept may still be found in China. The narrative starts in the southern Chinese province of Guizhou. Ding Bautzen accidentally fell into the ocean as a small child in the early 19 th century, and he had never learned to swim.
Ding was saved and later had a position in the Sichuan provincial government because of the quick thinking of a local. A Ding met the man and his family to offer his gratitude to the man who saved his life years earlier.
A dish of chopped and marinated chicken, peanuts, and hot Sichuan peppercorns was given to him there that he had never eaten before.
He loved the meal so much that he inquired about the recipe and began giving it to visitors at his house as well. Soon after, the meal became popular throughout the province and was given the name Gongbao Jiding, after the guy who gave it that name.
As time passed, the spicy and savory Kung Pao Chicken dish spread to restaurants all throughout China and eventually to North America, where Europeans fell in love with it. Ever since, the dish continues to remain quite popular in America and is served happily in the restaurants too.
Ingredients for Kung Pao Chicken Chicken:
- 800g boneless/skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch / corn flour
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock (or broth) — water can be used
- 5 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar (or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar)
- 2 tablespoon Chinese Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
- 2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar(as per taste)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch / corn flour
For Stir Fry:
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic (4-6 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 1/2 red bell pepper (capsicum) seeded and diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper (capsicum) seeded and diced
- 8-10 dried chilies cut into ½-inch pieces (adjust to taste)
- 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, lightly toasted and ground
- 4 green onion / scallion stems cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup roasted/unsalted peanuts
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil optional
How to make delicious Kung pao chicken at home
- In a shallow bowl, combine all the ingredients for the chicken. Cover and marinate for 10 minutes.
- Set aside after whisking the sauce ingredients until the sugar has dissolved.
- Over high heat, preheat a sizable skillet, pan, or wok. Add 2 teaspoons of cooking oil, let it heat up, then add the chicken that has been marinating. Cook the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes, tossing periodically, or until the edges are browned. Heat has been removed; set aside.
- Put any leftover cooking oil in the same pan or wok. Stir-fry for one minute after adding the garlic, ginger, chili chopped, peppers (capsicums) and Sichuan peppercorns.
- Mix the prepared sauce well, add it to the pan, and then stir it as it boils.
- Reintroduce the chicken after the sauce starts to thin out. When the sauce starts to somewhat thicken, toss the chicken back into the pan or wok and stir all of the ingredients together until the chicken is thoroughly covered (about 2 minutes).
- Add the sesame oil, peanuts, and green onions. To blend the flavor’s, give everything a good toss and cook for a further 2 minutes. Serve right away with fried or steaming hot rice!
Is Kung Pao Chicken Healthy?
Kung Pao Chicken is a possible choice if you’re at a Chinese restaurant. Given that it includes full protein and a variety of vitamins and minerals, this dish is generally considered to be a healthy option. Additionally, it has less calories and saturated fat. However, because of the sodium content, you may need to closely watch your meal plan to prevent over salinization.
Carbohydrates and Fiber
The chicken and peanuts in Kung Pao Chicken provide the bulk of the protein in this dish, with
9.7 g per serving. One serving also contains 6.8 grams of carbohydrates; Kung Pao Chicken has some fiber, as well. A serving of this dish contains 1.5 grams, which is just a small part of the 25 to 38 grams of fiber you need daily.