Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁)

Better than Golden Dragon or Chinese Wok

This meal is an ode to the 4 semesters of Mandarin I suffered through in college. Hillary took Mandarin in high school and triumphantly (miraculously) tested out of our college’s language requirement…I wasn’t so fortunate. Like my Zhongwen skills, this Kung Pao is good enough to get by and occasionally impress someone. But unlike those torturous Mandarin classes, it’s way easier to comprehend and cook up. While most of the ingredients can easily be picked up at your local supermarket, we definitely recommend taking a trip to an Asian grocery store. You’ll be able to get cheap chili and sesame oil, chili-garlic sauce, and enough Chinese Rice Wine to last you until 2020. And now that your kitchen cabinet is full of these ingredients, you can attempt a more advanced dish, like fried or steamed dumplings. In the meantime, this Kung Pao Chicken will be the perfect dish for a weekday dinner.


  • 2-3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts


  • 1 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 TBS Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp chili oil
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek
  • 2 tsp corn starch


  • 2 TBS + 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 TBS + 1 tsp Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp chili oil
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek
  • 1 tsp corn starch


  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 TBS vegetable or canola oil
  • 6 dried chili peppers or 1 TBS of red chili flakes
  • 1/2 chopped peanuts (I don’t use, but you can)
  • 2 scallions, chopped for garnish


  1. Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes. Make the marinade, adding the corn starch last. Place chicken cubes into a plastic bag or container and pour marinade over. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. While chicken is marinating, make the sauce and chop the vegetables.
  2. Once chicken is finished marinating, heat your wok, cast iron pan, or skillet to medium-high heat. Add 2 TBS of oil and then drop the chicken in.
  3. Stir-fry the chicken until it’s about 80% cooked (3 minutes), set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 2 TBS oil and then add the garlic and chili peppers, cooking for 1 minute. Then add the onion, red pepper, tomato. Stir-fry until soft, about 5 minutes.
  5. Pour in the sauce, bring to a boil, and then add the chicken. Stir-fry everything for 3-4 minutes more adding in the peanuts during this time.
  6. The tomato will have cut the spice quite a bit and added some extra liquid, so feel free to drop a couple teaspoons of  chili oil and sesame oil in while you’re stir-frying.
  7. Serve in a bowl on top of white rice and garnish with chopped scallion. Add chili oil for extra heat.

Details: Serves 4. Makes great lunch leftovers.

To print the recipe, click here: Luke’s Kung Pao

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