Kung Pao Chicken, also called Kung Po (in Cantonese) or Gong Bao (in Mandarin), is a typical Chinese cuisine created in the Sichuan Province of central western China. This famous and popular dish was named after Ding Baozhen, an official and governor of Sichuan Province during the Qing dynasty during the early nineteenth century. His title was Gongbao, meaning palace guard, and Kung Pao chicken was named in honour of him as the biggest fan of this dish.
It is not only an extremely popular and renowned dish in China but also a staple for westernised modern Chinese cuisine. Kung Pao chicken is a very appetising spicy stir-fry dish made with ingredients like chicken, peanuts, vegetables, dried chillies and Sichuan peppercorns. There are various provincial adaptations of this dish in China. Peanuts, walnuts or almonds can be used as an alternative to cashew nuts if desired. For my gluten free version, I am using chicken breasts, green capsicums and small dried red chillies, then garnish with some roasted cashew nuts.
- 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 kg skinless chicken breasts or thighs trimmed and cut into 3cm cubes
- 2 green capsicums cut into 3cm pieces
- 15 small dried red chillies
- 3 spring onions sliced into 4cm lengthwise
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 cm ginger peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 cup roasted cashew nuts
- Steamed rice to serve
For The Sauce:
For The Marinade:
- 2 tablespoons gluten free light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons gluten free corn maize starch
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon pale or medium dry sherry
- Combine chicken pieces with marinade in a large bowl and mix well. Reserve for about 30 minutes.
- Prepare and mix the sauce ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Heat up a wok with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and stir-fry the roasted cashew nuts on low heat until golden. Remove and drain on paper towel.
- Remove chicken from marinade and using the same oil in step 3, stir-fry the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high heat. Remove chicken and set aside. Clean wok with kitchen paper towel.
- Heat up the wok with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, add garlic and ginger, and stir-fry until lightly golden on low heat.
- Add the small dried red chillies and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Then add in the green capsicum and spring onions and stir-fry for another 2 minutes.
- Return chicken to wok, add in the sauce prepared earlier. Cook for another 2 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Add the roasted cashew nuts to the top of the dish and serve with steamed rice.