How to Make Kung Pao Chicken

By Dennis Weaver

Kung Pao chicken (also spelled Kung Po chicken or Gung Po chicken) is a classic dish in Szechuan cuisine, originating in the Sichuan Province of central-western China. The dish is named after Ding Baozhen (1820-1886), a late Qing Dynasty official. Born in Guizhou, Ding served as head of Shandong province and later as governor of Sichuan province. His title was Gōng Bǎo, or palatial guardian. The name "Kung Pao" chicken is derived from this title.

The dish exists in both traditional Sichuan and Westernized versions; the latter is more popular in the United States and Canada.



  • 3 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1/4 cup tempura batter mix
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped ginger
  • 1/2 cup water chestnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise (optional)
  • 1/2 baby corn, canned (optional)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot chili sauce (or more if you would like it hotter)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup green onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cups cooked rice


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, egg and tempura mix. Set aside.
  2. In a large wok, warm up the sesame oil on medium-high to high heat.
  3. Cook the chicken pieces 3/4 of the way done stirring constantly as to not to burn but get a nice crispy and browned outside. Turn heat down to medium.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger. Cook until the smells get strong, but do not burn.
  5. Add the water chestnuts, red onion, bell pepper, and baby corn. Cook for a few minutes until they reach your desired doneness. Bright and crispy is ideal.
  6. Add the chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, sugar, chili sauce and salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Stirring frequently.
  7. In a cup, combine the cornstarch and water to create a slurry, add to the wok and continue to stir until thickened.
  8. Add the peanuts and green onion. Stir to coat.
  9. Serve over rice.