Szechuan Kung Pao Chicken (Gong Bao Ji Ding)

Szechuan Kung Pao Chicken (Gong Bao Ji Ding)

10 reviews, 4.5 star(s). 80% would make again

Ready in 40 minutes

A spicy chicken and peanut dish originating from the western Chinese province of Szechuan, an area renowned for its distinctive fiery hot cuisine. I learned this when I was living in ChongQing.

Important foreward:

Get ALL of your ingredients ready before anything goes into the wok. Everything must be near to hand as, like most Chinese recipes involving stir frying, this moves pretty rapidly.

You've been warned. Heed not and you'll be eating a giant mess of burnt sugar coated chicken.


1 lb chicken thigh
10 whole red chili peppers
1 small red onion (optional)
2-3 cloves garlic (crushed)
1/2 piece ginger (crushed)
Handful of roasted peanuts (the salted kind is fi
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or Sherry
1 Egg white
1 tablespoon Cornstarch
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine/sherry
1 tablespoon dark vinegar (balsamic will do)
1 tablespoon Dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt
1 scallion

Original recipe makes 4 Servings



1. Dice chicken into half inch cubes.

2. Mix marinade, lightly beating the egg white and pour over the chicken. Leave to stand for no more than 30 minutes.

3. Velvet the chicken with oil or water:

Heat 2 cups of oil until hot (450F) in the wok or alternatively bring a large pot of water to a boil. Stir the chicken to separate, add to the oil or water, and stir again. If using oil, after about a minute, flip the chicken and cook for another minute, until white. If using water, simmer for about 2 minutes until the chicken turns white. Drain the chicken and reserve, keeping about 2 tablespoons of the oil in the wok (if you used water, you'll need 2 tablespoons of oil to finish the dish).

4. Tear the chilis into pieces, then soak them in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain.

5. Peel the onion and cut into sqaure 1 1/2 inch pieces.

6. Heat wok until very hot (until it starts to smoke). Add the oil if you velveted your chicken in water. Add the garlic and ginger to the oil, stir for 15 seconds, then add the chilis and stir for a minute or two. Add the onions and continue to stir and flip for another minute. Add the chicken, scallion, peanuts and cook for a minute. After this, if you notice that it seems a little dry for your taste, feel free to mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with a little bit of water and pour in along with your seasoning (that means vinegar, soy etc). Give it a good quick stir. I mean it, be quick! The sugar will burn. Serve with fragrant steamed rice.


If you velvet the chicken in oil it is important that you do NOT refrigerate the chicken as it will cause the meat to toughen thus completely defeating the purpose of velveting in the first place. If you are planning to velvet and set the chicken aside, do it with water. The chicken will be ok frozen or refrigerated.


Chinese food is not an exact science. If you enjoy spicy food, put more chillies in there! If you know you don't like sweet food; less sugar! Have fun and more importantly, enjoy your meal.

Alert editor   


Using the water velveting technique....adding bell pepper, onion, chiles and cashews. Also added a bit of cornstarch slurry. Excellent...

Calories Per Serving: 199 Get detailed nutrition information, including line-by-line nutrition insights?  Try BigOven Pro for Free for 14 days!

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This meal was incredible!!
Marccc 2y ago

nala786 2y ago

I must be missing something because my recipe does not show where to add the seasoning at all. Really want to try this it sounds great.
bryankimjade 3y ago

I made this last night - with 6 fresh chili peppers - and it was fantastic. A keeper for sure!
Buchanmi 3y ago

The best tasting home made Chinese meal my boyfriend has ever had ;)
Drea8686 4y ago

10 peppers! Wow we could only do 5 and they were fresh, not dried. We were coughing from the hot chili oils in the air. Velveting... Amazing texture to the chicken. Added chopped green bell pepper too. Next time will
Susankcook 4y ago

Great flavor. Can't wait to make again.
judges2007 4y ago

This was my first introduction to velveting as well, and it's definitely a trick worth knowing. I tried both the oil and water methods, both very easy if you just follow the directions. It does make the chicken very tender. The red onions are another standout feature of this recipe. I would advise to make sure everything is ready in advance, it moves pretty quick once you start stir-frying.
dakotarussell 5y ago

Ok, I made this for lunch today. I absolutely loved it! Thank you for introducing me to the velveting technique. I velveted mine in water and refrigerated it overnight...I loved the quick preparation the following day. A delicious meal that I will definitely be making again. Thank you for posting.
ellie36 5y ago

[I posted this recipe.]
TerrXL 6y ago

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