'Kung Pao chicken' on Serious Eats

How to Make Takeout-Style Kung Pao Chicken

As much as I now love real-deal Sichuan kung-pao chicken, my absolute favorite Chinese dish as a kid was this mildly spiced Americanized version—and to be honest, I still love it today. Just because it's a Chinese-American standard, complete with slightly-gloppy-sauce and mild heat doesn't make diced chicken with peppers and peanuts any less delicious. Here's how to make it at home. More

Takeout-Style Kung Pao Chicken (Diced Chicken With Peppers and Peanuts)

As much as I now love real-deal Sichuan kung-pao chicken, my absolute favorite Chinese dish as a kid was this mildly spiced Americanized version—and to be honest, I still love it today. Just because it's a Chinese-American standard, complete with slightly-gloppy-sauce and mild heat doesn't make diced chicken with peppers and peanuts any less delicious. Here's how to make it at home. More

Dinner Tonight: Gong Bao Ji Ding (Kung Pao Chicken, via Food52)

Kung Pao chicken is a dish often bastardized in Chinese-American eateries into a bland, stir-fried hodge podge of chicken, bell peppers, celery, and peanuts in a gloppy sweet soy-based sauce. The real deal, on the other hand, packs a flavorful punch; savory soy balanced with a touch of sweetness, a splash of dark Chinese vinegar for a fragrant acidity, and plenty of chilis and Sichuan peppercorns for that characteristic ma-la (hot and numbing) profile. More

The Nuts in Kung Pao Chicken: Peanuts or Cashews?

[Flickr: Spy On Pea] Yesterday, our new nut columnist Lee Zalben wrote about Kung Pao chicken, exploring the use of nuts in this and so many other Chinese dishes. He casually mentioned the peanuts in his Kung Pao dish, which set off a mini debate. What about cashews? Or are peanuts more common? We tweeted and Facebooked the question, and the consensus seems to be with peanuts. "traditionally, only peanuts are used" (@kattebelletje) "Peanuts or no nuts. Never cashews." (@GarySoup) "peanuts for sure, says the girl who grew up in a Chinese restaurant" (@aliciac) Chinese cuisine mystery-solver Jenny 8. Lee directed us to this New York Times piece by Howard W. French from 2005. Apparently in south-central China, the... More

That's Nuts: Is Kung Pao Chicken Authentic?

Note: Lee Zalben, a.k.a. "the Peanut Butter Guy" is the creator of the Peanut Butter & Co., a New York sandwich shop with a national line of nut butters. Every week he'll chime in with some nuttiness. This week, he questions the authenticity of Kung Pao chicken. [Flickr: Lewi Hirvela] They call me "The Peanut Butter Guy." Everyone just assumes I know everything there is to know about peanuts and peanut butter, even the most esoteric and tangential of facts. I was out with some friends the other night at a popular Chinese restaurant in Manhattan. Of course I ordered the Kung Pao chicken. In part, because wherever I go, everyone always expects me to order the dish on the... More

Chicago: Classin' Up Kung Pao

If I had a slice of bacon for every cute cheffy deconstruction of a classic dish that had gone wrong, I’d be bigger than Niman Ranch. Even if the deconstruction goes right, the gourmet-ing up of mac and cheese or PBJ has been done so much that it’s getting boring. Still, one chef whose deconstructions I never get sick of is Graham Elliot Bowles of Graham Elliot. The cool thing about Bowles is he knows when to deconstruct and when to just leave classics alone. If he wants to use Pop Rocks, he doesn’t have some kitchen intern researching how to re-create Pop Rocks for a week, he just goes to the corner store and buys them. Sometimes you just... More

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