Kung Pao Fish With Dried Chilies and Sichuan Peppercorns Recipe

Sichuan peppercorns and dried chilies add mouth-tingling heat to Kung Pao fish. Shao Z.

In this variation on Kung Pao chicken, firm white-fleshed fish such as catfish or tillapia is marinated with soy sauce and white pepper, then deep fried until golden. Afterwards, it's stir-fried with classic Sichuan flavors: spicy dried chilies, mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns, and garlic.

Note: Doubanjiang is a Chinese chili-bean sauce.

Recipe Facts

Active: 45 mins
Total: 45 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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For the Marinade and Fish:

  • 1 pound firm white-fleshed fish fillets, such as catfish or tilapia, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 tablespoon egg white, lightly beaten

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

For the Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon doubanjiang (see notes)

  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 3 tablespoons water

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the Stir-Fry:

  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil, divided

  • 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces on the bias

  • 10 to 15 hot Chinese dry chile peppers, halved

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorn

  • 1/4 cup roasted-garlic-flavored peanuts or regular roasted peanuts


  1. For the Marinade and Fish: Place fish in a large bowl. Add remaining marinade ingredients and, using your hands, gently mix until fish is evenly coated. Let stand 15 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, For the Sauce: In a bowl, thoroughly mix together all sauce ingredients and set aside.

  3. For the Stir-Fry: In a wok, heat 2 cups oil to 300°F. Working in 3 batches, carefully add fish and fry, gently moving fish around to ensure none sticks to the wok and turning once, until fish is golden, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Using spider, transfer fish to paper-towel-lined plates to drain. Repeat with remaining fish.

  4. To clean and prepare the wok for stir-frying, carefully pour out frying oil and add a few cups of water to the wok. Bring to a simmer while scraping down the wok with a metal spatula. Discard water out and wipe out wok with a paper towel, making sure the cooking surface of the wok is completely dry before proceeding.

  5. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the wok over high heat until lightly smoking. Add scallion, dried chili peppers, garlic, and Sichuan peppercorns, and stir-fry until fragrant and garlic is lightly golden, about 30 seconds. Add the sauce and mix well (the sauce should thicken almost immediately). Carefully add fried fish and gently toss with sauce to combine. Transfer Kung Pao fish to plate, sprinkle with peanuts, and serve immediately.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
355 Calories
19g Fat
15g Carbs
34g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 355
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 65mg 22%
Sodium 668mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 34g
Vitamin C 6mg 30%
Calcium 71mg 5%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 672mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)