How to Make Numbing, Spicy Kung Pao Chicken

January 10, 2016 11:50 pm Last Updated: February 24, 2016 4:29 pm

I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with Kung Pao Chicken. It’s a numbing, spicy stir-fry dish made with chicken, vegetables, peanuts, chili, and most importantly, Sichuan peppercorn. 

It’s a classic Sichuan dish named after Ding Baozhen, a late Qing Dynasty official. His title was Gong Bao. The name “Kung Pao” chicken is derived from this title. Today we are going to show you how to cook Kung Pao Chicken at home.

Kung Pao Chicken

Prep & Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2


  • 8 ounces chicken breast, cut into cubes 
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 3 red dry chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn
  • 6 slices ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 stalks chopped scallion
  • 1/4 cup peanuts (Fun fact: Peanuts are rich in protein, vitamin E, and antioxidants. According to many studies, they promote heart health. )

For the Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon of water 
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil 

For the Chicken Marinade

  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons oil


To Marinate the Chicken

In a bowl, mix the salt, pepper, sugar, egg white, and cornstarch mixture. (The egg white and the cornstarch water will soften the chicken and make it more tender. They are important ingredients in making restaurant-quality stir-fried meat.)

Then add the chicken cubes into the mixture with a fork or chopsticks stirring for about 1 minute. Then add the 2 tablespoons of oil to the bowl and marinate for about 10 minutes.

To Make the Sauce

In a bowl, add the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, cornstarch mixture (the corn starch will thicken the sauce), and the oil (the oil will make the dish look more vibrant and glossy), and hot sesame oil. Mix well.

In a hot pan, add 2 tablespoons oil, the marinated chicken cubes, and stir until medium-well. Take them out and set aside. In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons oil, the red dry chilies, and Sichuan peppercorn, and wait until you can smell the spicy aroma.

Then add the cooked chicken cubes back, along with the ginger, garlic, scallions, and wait until you can smell the aroma. Pour in the sauce and stir well. Finally add the peanuts. 

(Courtesy of CiCi Li)
(Courtesy of CiCi Li)

CiCi Li is the host of “CiCi’s Food Paradise” on NTD Television. Join her and discover quick and healthy recipes at