Kung Pao Chicken


2 chicken breasts or chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon chili paste (massaman curry paste works too)
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 dried red peppers, stem ends cut off
1/4 lb carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 can water chestnuts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup unsalted or lightly salted roasted peanuts
5 green onions, stems cut off, cut into 1-inch pieces
cooked rice

The Process:

Dissolve the corn starch into the water; add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon oil.

Half of this will be the marinade. Cover the chicken with it and let it sit for 30 minutes or so.

The other half will become the sauce. Add the sugar and chili/curry paste to this; stir till the paste is incorporated.

Get your skillet or wok hot. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil; sautée the garlic and red peppers for a minute or two. Add the carrots and water chestnuts and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the chicken and its marinade; cook 4-5 minutes till the chicken is almost done. Add the sauce mixture, peanuts, and green onions; cook for a couple minutes till the sauce is thickened. Serve over rice.


Crank up the heat: increase the red pepper flakes and/or curry paste.

More veggies: cut up celery into the same size chunks as the carrots and water chestnuts; add mushrooms, bamboo shoots, baby corn, etc. As for cooking time, cook all the hard veggies together with the carrots and water chestnuts, or throw the soft veggies in after the chicken gets going.

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