A Panda Express classic – this Kung Pao chicken is quick, easy and delicious!
Believe it or not, Panda Express hasn’t really made it over to the UK, but I’ve paid the place a fair few visits on holidays to the US, and love their Kung Pao chicken.
My version involves making a marinade – a third of which is used to marinade the chicken. The remaining 2/3rds is added at the end along with the vegetables and reduced down to get a thick sauce with loads of flavour.
The meal contains the whole dried red chillies, as you find in the Panda Express version, but these can easily be added at the very end with the peanuts – so you can dish out a portion for the kids before adding the chillies.
I often do this for my homemade beef rendang too.
The question from me to you is – do you eat the chillies? Or leave them on the side of your plate?
I think the last time I had it I left them, because they just look so hot and scary!
Chris took a large bite of one, and I’ve never seen him down a pint of water so fast! Ha ha – and he generally likes his spicy food.
I find you get the right amount of heat if you snip the chillies a couple of times when they’re in the pan – so they release a bit of the heat, without you having to lose the functionality of your taste buds for the next 24 hours….
My recipe for Kung Pao Chicken first appeared on Or So She Says.
- 2 tbsp rice wine
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- 5 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- ½ tsp ground sechuan peppers (optional – for those of you who like it hotter)
- Remaining Ingredients:
- 3 chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 teaspoon cornflour/cornstarch
- 1 tbsp vegetable Oil
- 8 Dry Whole Chilli Peppers
- 2 Red Bell Pepper, chopped into squares
- 1 medium sized courgette/zucchini chopped into chunks
- 12 spring onions/scallions, chopped roughly
- ½ cup unsalted peanuts
- Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
- Place the chopped chicken in a separate bowl and mix with the cornflour/cornstarch, then stir in ⅓ of the marinade ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 12 hours).
- Heat your wok or frying pan over a medium heat and add the whole chilli peppers. Dry cook for a couple of minutes – turning regularly until the chillies go darker in colour. They burn quite quickly, so keep a close eye on them. Remove from the pan when they’ve darkened and gone a little softer.
- Add the oil to your work, heat on a high heat and then add the chicken. Fry until cooked through – about 7-8 minutes.
- Add in the red peppers, courgette/zucchini and spring onions/scallions. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes until heated through, but still crunchy.
- Add in the remaining ⅔rds of the marinade and the chillies and cook until the sauce thickens slightly – about 2 minutes.
- If you’d prefer the sauce to thicken even more, you can mix a tbsp. of cornflour/cornstarch with a couple of tbsp. of cold water, then pour this mix in whilst stirring. The sauce will thicken very quickly.
- Add in the peanuts just before serving, and give them a quick stir. Serve over boiled rice (with a large glass of water if you intend to eat those chillies!)