Takeout Style Kung Pao Chicken

Basic ingredients


  • Dark Soy Sauce — adds beautiful caramel color and flavor to the sauce! Substitute with a mixture of regular soy sauce, molasses, and water
  • Chinese black vinegar — a good quality balsamic vinegar can be used instead.
  • Chinese wine (Shaoxing) — to substitute with dry sherry, gin, rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar
  • Sweet peppers- With celery, sliced carrots and/or zucchini
  • Szechuan peppercorns - not easy to replace the unique heat and flavor of these peppercorns but many have used a combination of freshly ground black pepper and freshly ground coriander seeds.
  • Chinese dried red chili’s - Thai red chilies or dried chili flakes


Serves 4-6



For the quick marinade

  • 1½ lb of boneless/skinless chicken thighs cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch / cornflour

For the sauce

  • ½ cup of chicken broth or water
  • 6 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar (or substitute balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoon Chinese Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp chili garlic sauce like sambal oelek or Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons cornstarch

For the stir fry

  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil divided
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, lightly toasted and ground (if available)
  • 6 cloves of garlic minced or grated
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 8-10 dried chilies cut into ½-inch pieces (I would halve the amount for a milder flavor)
  • 4 green onions/scallion stems cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup Texas roasted and salted Peanuts, shells removed (plus more for serving)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil optional
  • Rice or noodles to serve


  1. In a medium bowl toss the chicken with the marinade ingredients, cover, and allow to marinate at least 10 minutes.
  2. In a separate small bowl combine and whisk all the sauce ingredients making sure the sugar has dissolved
  3. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large skillet or wok over medium/high heat. Add marinated chicken and pan-fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until edges are slightly browned. Move to one side of the pan.
  4. Add remaining cooking oil to the empty side of the hot pan. Stir in garlic, ginger, chilis, peppercorns if using, diced peppers, and stir fry for 1 minute.
  5. Whisk the sauce and then pour it into the pan and bring it to a boil while stirring.
  6. The sauce will start to thicken, mix all of the ingredients through the sauce until everything is evenly coated and the sauce has thickened.
  7. Stir in green onions, peanuts, and sesame oil. Toss well and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
  8. Serve immediately with rice or noodles.

Takeout Style Kung Pao Chicken