Healthy, Low-calorie Kung Pao Chicken Recipe You Want to Try
There are plenty of Chinese cuisines out there. One of the most westernized is Kung Pao chicken. You probably have heard, maybe even taste, this delicious cuisine yourself. If you haven’t, well, this is the right time to try. Why? Because we will tell you how to cook the cuisine yourself.
The best thing about this cuisine is that it is easy to cook. Not to mention it only takes about 20 minutes to finish. The cuisine has many different versions. The original is from Sichuan. As for our recipe here, it is the westernized version of the cuisine. No need to worry. It is still delicious and worth trying.
Kung Pao Sauce
There is no Kung Pao chicken without Kung Pao sauce. Indeed, it is so important one can say it is the soul of the cuisine. Kung Pao sauce is brown, slightly spicy, and very, very addictive. The sauce tastes sweet, salty, and vinegary. Quite mouthwatering, isn’t it?
What makes the sauce so mouthwatering, you ask? The secret ingredient of Kung Pao sauce is Chinese black vinegar. The ingredients of the sauce are dark soy sauce, soy sauce, water, sugar, and corn starch. It is from these ingredients that the delicious sauce is made of.
If you have ever tasted the cuisine, you know that it is a bit spicy. But where does this spiciness come from? Is it from the sauce? Nope. It is not the sauce. Rather, the spiciness comes from other ingredients. Namely, the dried red chilies that are added in the stir-fry.
Kung Pao Chicken: Frequently Asked Questions and Cooking Tips
Where did the cuisine come from?
Originally, the cuisine is from Sichuan, China. It was believed that the cuisine was invented in the 19th century by Ding Baozhen, a Sichuan General. The cuisine name, Kung Pao, came from Ding Baozhen’s honorary title. The story goes that Ding Baozhen loved peanut and chicken in a spicy sauce, which is why he created the cuisine.
Is the recipe authentic?
No. Our Kung Pao chicken recipe here is a westernized version of the dish. The authentic version, which is the Sichuan version, uses a lot of dried red chilies and Sichuan peppercorn. These ingredients are included to give the numbing and spicy flavors. While our recipe does not follow the authentic one, it is still delicious and worth a try.
Can I use other vinegar?
Yes, you can. Chinese black vinegar is not the only vinegar you can use for this cuisine. If you don’t have or don’t want to use Chinese black vinegar, you can use red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
My sauce is too salty or not salty enough. What should I do?
Some soy sauces might taste too salty for your taste. Some others, not salty enough. Sugar, salt, and water are your friend here. If your sauce is too salty, add water and sugar. If it is not salty enough, add salt to taste.
What vegetables can I add?
You can add vegetables like broccoli, carrots, celery, water chestnuts, and zucchini for the cuisine.
How many calories does this cuisine have?
The cuisine made with our recipe here has only 360 calories. You can serve it with fried rice, steamed rice, or noodles.
Heating the wok before stir-frying
To get the best result, you need to stir-fry the ingredients properly. Make sure you heat the wok first prior to stir-frying.
The importance of spatula
In cooking this stir-fried cuisine, the spatula is no doubt the most important utensil you will use. You will need it to stir and toss the ingredients continuously. Note: by stir and toss we mean flipping, turning, and moving the ingredients back and forth.
Cut the chicken meat evenly
Cutting the chicken meat is part of the cooking process. The question is, how should you cut it? The best way to cut the chicken meat is to cut it into uniform pieces. This way, the meat will cook evenly.
Prepare the sauce in advance
The Kung Pao sauce is very easy to make. All that is needed to do is to mix all the ingredients. Preparing the sauce in advance is a good idea as you will not be distracted while you prepare and cook the chicken and other ingredients.
How to Cook Kung Pao Chicken
Cuisine: Kung Pao chicken
Keyword: Kung Pao chicken recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
- 1 stalk scallion, cut it into rings
- 2 cloves of garlic, sliced diagonally
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 3 tablespoons roasted peanuts
- 5 slices of peeled fresh ginger
- 6 to 8 dried red chilies, seed and cut them into halves before cooking
- 12 oz. skinless and boneless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- You can add 1 tablespoon Chinese Shaoxing rice wine if you want, but it is optional
- 1/4 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- First thing first, prepare the chicken meat. Cut the meat into small cubes. Then, rinse them in water. Take some paper towels and pat the cubes dry. Marinade the cubes for about 30 minutes.
- Pour the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix. Set it aside.
- Pour a tablespoon of oil on a wok and heat the wok. Next, add the marinated chicken and stir fry. Wait until the chicken is 70% cook. Then, dish out the chicken and set it aside.
- The next thing to do is to stir fry the ingredients. But before that, take the wok and clean it.
- Pour two tablespoons of oil on the wok and heat it again. Wait until the oil is fully heated.
- Add the garlic and ginger slices. Quick stir the mixture then add the dried red chilies.
- Stir fry the chilies until they smell spicy and become aromatic.
- Add and quickly stir the chicken meat.
- Add the roasted peanuts, followed by the sauce.
- Stir the chicken meat continuously until the sauce coats it nicely.
- Add in the scallions and stir again. Stir until the scallions mix well with the chicken meat.
Dish out and Kung Pao chicken is ready to serve.