This kung pao chicken recipe is delicious and easy. It can be made in minutes (after the chicken has marinated) and goes beautifully with some rice. The chicken has a light coating and the sauce gives it a slight tanginess with the vinegar and some sweetness with the Hoisin sauce and the honey.
I like using chicken thighs for this recipe but you can certainly use chicken breast. I find that chicken thigh is a little more flavorful. Some people like adding bell peppers and carrots to this as well. Personally I prefer it simple like this. You decide.
This meal will cook within minutes after the chicken has marinated so make sure you have all your ingredients ready when you begin. Another recommendation is that you make sure you are working in a very hot wok or skillet so everything cooks quickly.
This is what you will need for this delicious and wonderful kung pao chicken recipe:
4 chicken thighs – skinned, deboned and cut into 1 – inch cubes
FOR THE MARINADE:
2 TBS soy sauce
4 TBS rice vinegar
3 tsp. cornstarch
Mix the soy sauce, vinegar and cornstarch in a bowl. Add the cubed chicken and toss to coat well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
FOR THE COOKING SAUCE:
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. Hoisin sauce
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. honey
2 tsp. cornstarch
Mix all the ingredients well and set aside.
PREPARE THE KUNG PAO:
2 TBS vegetable or peanut oil
8 dried red chili peppers
3 scallions – chopped (separate the white and light green from the dark green)
4 garlic cloves – minced
1 TBS minced peeled, fresh ginger
½ cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
Heat a wok or large skillet until very hot. Add 1 TBS of oil and heat until it starts to smoke. Add the chili peppers, the chopped scallions (except for the dark greens), the garlic and the ginger. Mix constantly and cook for about 2 minutes – until you can smell the garlic and ginger. Remove the scallion mixture from the wok and set aside.
Add the remaining oil and heat until very hot. Remove the chicken from the marinade and add to the hot wok. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is browned and cooked through. This should not take more than a few minutes it the wok is heated well.
Return the scallion mixture to the wok and mix with the chicken. Add the cooking sauce and cook until the sauce dries up – about a minute. Turn off the heat. Add the scallion greens and peanuts, mix and serve.