Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kung Pao Chicken with Cashews and Szechuan Pepper

I would like to share with you my favourite tried-and-tested recipe for Kung Pao Chicken (gōng bǎo jī dīng) that is absolutely delicious. This classic Szechuan dish typically comprises marinated chicken cubes tossed in dried red chillies and szechuan peppercorns, along with some cashews or peanuts. Many versions exist for this highly popular dish, and after various attempts, I have finally come up with the perfect recipe that I am quite happy with. It has a nice balance of flavours from the soy, vinegar and brown sugar, and the aromatic szechuan peppers that is characterisic of kung pao chicken really bring out the true and authentic flavours of this dish.

Kung Pao Chicken with Cashews and Szechuan Peppers


300g chicken thigh fillets, diced into 3/4 inch cubes
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup dried red chillies, cut in half (remove seeds to reduce heat if preferred)
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 inch ginger, shredded thinly
3/4 tsp ground szechuan peppercorns (or to taste)
Peanut/vegetable oil for frying

1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp chinese cooking wine
1/2 tbsp cornflour

Sauce (combine in a bowl):
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp Chinkiang black vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp water


Combine chicken with marinade and mix well. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Pour 1/2 tbsp oil in a wok and add the cashews. Turn on the flame on low-medium heat. Slowly stir-fry the cashews until they turn a nutty brown. Dish out and set aside, leaving the oil in the wok.

Add 1/2 tbsp oil to the wok and fry the chicken on high heat until cooked. Dish out and set aside.
Add 1 tbsp oil to the wok and fry the dried chillies until slightly browned, then remove and set aside, leaving the oil in the wok. Add the ginger, followed by garlic and fry for about 1 minute until fragrant. Then, add sauce ingredients, and bring to a boil on high heat.
Add chicken to the wok and toss on high heat until it is well coated with the sauce. Toss in the cashews and chillies and mix through. Finally, turn off the heat and sprinkle with ground szechuan pepper before dishing out onto a serving plate. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

  1. To make ground szechuan pepper, toast some szechuan peppercorns in a pan until it starts to smell fragrant. Then, use a mortar and pestle and grind it into a fine powder. Store any extra for future use.
  2. For the soy sauce, I used Lee Kum Kee premium light soy sauce, which is slightly richer than regular light soy sauce.


Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

I used to order kung pao chicken at an old have Chinese restaurant, but when I moved I could not ever find a version that equaled it in taste. I simply must try this because it looks and sounds awesome… following you too!

Reem | Simply Reem said...

Looks so so good...
I adore chinese food and this look really well done...

Chung-Ah @ Damn Delicious said...

Yum! Looks better than take-out.

mycookinghut said...

Looks really good!

McKenzi said...

I really want to pin this to Pinterest?!

Anonymous said...

This is the best stir fry I ever cooked. Thanks!!!