Kung Pao Chicken for Wimps – Recipe

I have a friend who absolutely loves Sichuanese food. Not the standard takeaway kind: I mean real laziji, ma-la hotpot and other dishes that are extremely delicious, but so hot they make you literally sweat and cry.

After accompanying her on plenty of Sichuan food adventures, I've become used to this intensity of spice and heat... but unfortunately my family have not. I created this recipe so they could enjoy the flavour of Sichuanese food without dying.

This recipe still has a decent kick to it (in fact it still might be too hot for some). However if you can take your spice, feel free to add lots more chillies if you like yours properly ma-la (hot and numbing).

Ready? Let's go.

Ingredient A:

1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns (to be used in B and D)

Ingredients B:

600g chicken breast, diced
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp shaoxing wine
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns

Ingredients C:

3 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp kecap manis
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp doubanjiang (spicy bean paste)
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp shaoxing wine
1 tsp smoked water (optional)
125ml chicken stock
2 level tsp cornflour

Ingredients D:

5 cloves garlic, minced
3" chunk of ginger, minced
6 dried chinese chillies, chopped and seeds discarded (leave them in if you prefer more heat)
6 spring onions, chopped
The rest of the ground peppercorns
200g roasted peanuts

To Cook:

2 tbsp sesame oil

To Serve:

Fresh chopped spring onions


1. Dry fry the peppercorns (in an unoiled wok) on a low to medium heat for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. Cool and grind with a pestle and mortar.

2. Mix all of of Ingredients B together and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

3. Mix all of Ingredients C together to make a sauce, and set aside.

4. Heat the sesame oil in the wok until smoking hot, and fry the chicken until just browned. Add in Ingredients D and fry, stirring continuously, until fragrant (about 5 minutes).

5. Turn the heat down to medium and add the sauce and cook, stirring continuously, until the sauce has reduced and thickened.

6. Serve immediately with plenty of rice.

Enjoy, and have fun.


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