kung pao chicken 014

Kung Pao Chicken (recipe adapted from Tigers & Strawberries blog by Barbara Fisher)

Happy New Year! “Oishii!” has been on vacation as we prepare to move our household from Chicago to Oak Park, Illinois.

I’ve discovered that good recipes for standard Chinese takeout fare are rather hard to come by. However, I hit the jackpot with this well researched, authentic version of kung pao chicken by Barbara Fisher. It has quickly become a family favorite. Hint: This recipe easily doubles; many of the ingredients are called for in amounts of 1 1/2 teaspoons which doubles easily to 1 tablespoon. Fry in two separate batches.


  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dark soy sauce (e.g. Wei-Chuan China Dark)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce (e.g. Wei-Chuan China Light)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons black rice vinegar (e.g. Chinkiang brand)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chicken broth


  • 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine (e.g. Shao Hsing brand)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

other ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2″ cubes (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 6 whole dried Chinese red peppers (or to taste)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (about 1 1/2 tablespoons), minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 3/4 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped


Make the sauce. Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Make the marinade. Mix together the light soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, and cornstarch in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the chicken and set aside.

Heat a wok or large non-stick frying pan over high heat until it is nearly smoking, and then add peanut oil. Add dried Chinese red peppers and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add chicken into a single layer on the bottom of the pan, and allow it to brown undisturbed. Add garlic, ginger, and jalapenos, and continue cooking. Add carrots, and when chicken is nearly done, pour in the sauce. When the sauce thickens add scallions, stir, and remove from heat. Add peanuts just before serving. Don’t eat the dried Chinese red peppers.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with steamed broccoli and white rice. I recommend Botan and Kokuho Rose brands.

Other Chinese favorites

Mongolian Beef
Shrimp in Lobster Sauce
Szechuan Beef and Green Beans

What’s oishii? “Oishii” (pronounced “oy she”) is the Japanese word for delicious. I love sharing great recipes I discover from popular restaurants, cookbooks, food magazines (Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, etc.), tv shows, friends, family, and other blogs. I also develop my own. Please contact me if there is a recipe you would like the test kitchen to consider: michaelwbeyer@hotmail.com

Do you have any great recipes for Chinese takeout food? Leave a link. If you enjoyed this post, we would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below. -Michael

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