Kung Pao chicken



In honor of the traditional Jewish X-mas (eg. Chinese food and a movie), here’s a good “Chinese” recipe. You’re on your own for the movie!

This has been our favorite Chinese chicken recipe for years. The kids don’t like it hot, while my husband prefers to have his mouth burned off. You can add more chili flakes while cooking, or just add more hot sauce to some after you’ve cooked and taken out the chicken for people who prefer no smoke to come rolling from their ears.

Kung Pao Chicken (serves about 3)


  • 1 lb chicken breast, chopped into bite sized pieces and marinated in 1 T soy sauce and 1T rice vinegar for 20 minutes up to a few days
  • 1 T sesame oil (or other oil of your choice)
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1 t crushed red pepper, more or less to your taste
  • 1/2 C peanuts


  • 2T hot sauce
  • 2T soy sauce
  • 1T sherry
  • 2T rice vinegar
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 t corn starch

Start by heating the oil in a wok or saute pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and pepper flakes, saute until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Add in chicken and marinade, and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is no longer pink.

Next, mix sauce ingredients in a bowl. Add most of the sauce to the pan, reserving a small amount (2T or so). Cook a few minutes on medium. Add the cornstarch into the remaining sauce. Stir the mixture into the pan.

Heat until thickened, and then add peanuts and cook about 1 minute more. Serve hot over rice.

To freeze, you have two choices:

  • Freeze the chicken and marinade in one bag, preferably with the sauce (minus cornstarch) right along side. When it’s time to cook, just add the bags plus cornstarch and peanuts in the correct order.
  • Freeze the whole dish cooked (although the peanuts are better if you add them later).

Either way works, and this recipe is good to double, triple, or octuple (is that a word?). I made 8 batches for today and our grand extended family Chinese get together (along with wonton soup, eggrolls, veggies, and rice)!


About Amital

A die-hard listmaker and observant Jewish mommy of 5, managing the challenges of life bit by bit with the help of a Shalom Bayit book and lists. And chocolate, of course. Lots of chocolate.

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