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Kung Pao Chicken for Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube

Spicy, sweet, sour and savoury all at once, this dish really fires up all of the taste buds

Spicy, sweet, sour and savoury all at once, Kung Pao Chicken is one of those rare dishes that really fires up all of the taste buds. Originally a very spicy dish hailing from the Sichuan region of China, modern and westernised versions tend to be milder and packed with lots of different ingredients. Our recipe straddles these realms of traditional and contemporary: we stick to the core ingredients of chicken, peanuts and chilli, but at the same time we let other flavours, such as a pleasant tanginess, shine alongside the chilli.

Sichuan peppercorns are optional, but add them and you’ll achieve that delightful background numbing sensation that exemplifies Sichuanese cuisine. And if you’re a chilli fiend (like Julie!), feel free to add a couple more dried chillies to the mix.

Serves
4, with rice
Ingredients

300g chicken breast, cut into 2cm chunks
3-4 large dried chillies
50g raw peanuts
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 spring onions, finely sliced

for the marinade
1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cornflour
2 pinches of salt
2 tbsp water

for the sauce
2 tsp ginger, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, ground
1 tbsp sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar (or 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar mixed with 1/2 tbsp water)
3 tbsp water

Spicy, sweet, sour and savoury all at once, Kung Pao Chicken is one of those rare dishes that really fires up all of the taste buds. Originally a very spicy dish hailing from the Sichuan region of China, modern and westernised versions tend to be milder and packed with lots of different ingredients. Our recipe straddles these realms of traditional and contemporary: we stick to the core ingredients of chicken, peanuts and chilli, but at the same time we let other flavours, such as a pleasant tanginess, shine alongside the chilli.

Sichuan peppercorns are optional, but add them and you’ll achieve that delightful background numbing sensation that exemplifies Sichuanese cuisine. And if you’re a chilli fiend (like Julie!), feel free to add a couple more dried chillies to the mix.

GET THE METHOD →

Combine the chicken and marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Combine all of the sauce ingredients (including the 3tbsp water) together in a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over a low heat. Add the dried chillies and stir-fry for 30 seconds until they are plump and slightly blackened on the outside. Remove the chillies from the heat, leaving the oil in the wok.
With the wok on a medium heat, add the peanuts. Stir-fry for about 45 seconds, then remove from the wok, leaving the oil behind.
Increase the wok to a high heat. Add the chicken pieces. Spread the chicken out in a single layer along the bottom of the wok and allow it to sear for 45 seconds before flipping it over. Allow the other side to brown for 45 seconds, then stir-fry for a further minute. Scoop the chicken and peanuts out of the wok onto a bowl.
Reduce the wok to a medium heat and add the sauce, chillies and peanuts. Allow the sauce to simmer for 1 minute. Return the chicken to the wok and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced, coating each piece of chicken with a glossy slick.
Turn off the heat, then stir in the spring onions. Serve the chicken with steamed jasmine rice.
  • Jimmy

    I just finished making this and I think I accidentally added 1/4 tsp of baking soda instead of 1/8, but the chicken is tender and so tasty. I found you ladies when searching for this recipe on YouTube and will definitely make it again. Next time…less baking soda and double the sauce!! Thank you

    • Yes baking soda is such a magical ingredient! Glad to hear you had good results using it 🙂 And thanks for watching us! x

  • Stephen Landsman

    I LOVE this recipe and use it for beef rather than chicken at least once a month. It’s flavor is an exact replica of the Kung Pao Beef served at the dearly beloved, long departed China Peace (a staple of NYC ‘s Theater district back in the 70s and 80s). Thanks so much for existing! You are Food Goddesses both!

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