Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

I'm pretty new to Wok cooking, but it's becoming one of my favorite pans.  There are a few tips and tricks I've picked up that have helped me with my cooking.  I think the foremost concerns the use of water.  I was afraid of wok cooking in the past because of the necessity for extremely high heat.  Things always burned and stuck to my wok.  But with just a splash of water every now and then you can deglaze the wok and steam the veggies pretty well.  Just cook off that water and you start to build up a fond all over again.  

Another great trick I learned was from Youtuber J. Kenji López-Alt.  It should also be said, I used HIS recipe for Kung Pao chicken as a base for mine (among other recipes.)  Seriously, check out his video for this recipe, because it's possibly my favorite cooking video ever.  I'll link it below.  

Anyway, Kenji gave a great tip in his video about wiping on a thin layer of oil on his wok, putting it on high heat, and when you start to see a little smoke you're good to start frying.  It's a great temperature indicator to make sure your wok is hot enough and nothing will stick.  

One last note, cooking at these temperatures with oil will throw a lot of oil around your oven.  I like to make sure I clean my stovetop after every fry.  


  • Chicken marinated in Soysauce and Mirin
    • NOTE: If you use Mirin, it may ignite when you add the chicken.  Don't use it if you have never flambéed before.
  • Red bell pepper
  • Green Onions
  • Ginger (cut into matchsticks)
  • 2-3 cloves of Garlic (sliced)
  • Peanuts

For the Sauce (this will make enough for 2 stir frys, so don't use it all at once)

  • 15 grams of Honey
  • 15 grams of Mirin
  • 25 grams of Soy Sauce
  • 25 grams of Rice Vinegar
  • 1 tsp of Cornstarch

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and marinate in a little soy sauce and mirin.  Do not use mirin if you have never flambéed before.  It may ignite when you add the chicken to the wok.  

Chop the red pepper and green onions into equal sized pieces as you did the chicken.  It's important to keep everything the same size so they all cook at the same rate.  A quick note on how I chopped the red pepper: cut on the bias for a neat triangle shape.  I got that idea from Chef John of Foodwishes.com.  Because people love pointy food.  

Put your burner on it's highest heat possible and start heating your wok.  Wipe it down with a little peanut oil (or olive oil, but not extra virgin) and wait for the pan to start to smoke.  Immediately after you see a little smoke, add 2-3 tbsp of your oil and add your chicken.  Stir fry for a minute to get some color on it and then add your garlic/ginger.  Stir fry for another minute and add your red pepper, green onions, and peanuts.  Deglaze the wok with a splash of water as you if the fond starts to get too dark.  Scraping the pan as you go.  

Finally add your sauce mixture and stir fry for another minute.  I usually have to add water to mine to thin it out a bit, and to dilute it a little.  But that's just how I like it.  

Serve over rice and enjoy!  

Let me know in the comments what you would do differently!  

And check out this video!  It's my favorite.  


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