Spicy Kung Pao Chicken Delight

Copycat Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken is a spicy stir-fry dish with chicken, vegetables, and a flavorful homemade sauce.

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

It’s interesting to note that while Panda Express is not present in the UK, you’ve been able to enjoy their Kung Pao chicken during your trips to the US. Your homemade version involves a marinade, with one-third used for marinating the chicken, and the remaining two-thirds added later with the vegetables to create a flavorful sauce.

Meal prepping is a fantastic idea, especially when it comes to a dish like Kung Pao chicken. Making extra and storing it in the fridge for a couple of days allows you to enjoy a delicious and convenient meal whenever you’re ready.

How to make Kung Pao Chicken:

Mix rice wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, white pepper, garlic, ginger, sugar, and Sichuan peppers. Marinate chicken in a third of the mixture for 30 minutes. Dry-fry chili peppers until charred, then remove. Fry chicken in hot oil for 7-8 minutes. Add bell peppers and courgette, then pour in reserved marinade, simmer, and add peanuts (or cashews) and chili peppers at the end.

Can I prepare gluten-free Kung Pao Chicken?

Replace soy sauce with tamari and rice wine with a bit of sherry. Use gluten-free hoisin sauce for this adaptation.

Can I get a head start?

Freshly made, the dish retains a satisfying vegetable crunch. But if you end up with leftovers, cool them, cover, and freeze. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight and microwave until piping hot, stirring occasionally.

Kung Pao Chicken


  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 5 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves – peeled and minced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger – peeled and grated
  • ½ tsp ground sechuan peppers – optional – for those of you who like it hotter

Remaining Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts – chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp vegetable Oil
  • 8 Dry Whole Chilli Peppers
  • 2 Red Bell Pepper – chopped into squares
  • 1 medium sized courgette/zucchini chopped into chunks
  • 12 spring onions/scallions – chopped roughly
  • ½ cup unsalted peanuts – or cashews if you prefer


  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Toss chicken with cornflour/cornstarch in a separate bowl, then mix in ⅓ of the marinade. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes (or up to 12 hours). Note: Save the remaining ⅔ of the marinade for the sauce.
  3. Heat a wok or frying pan over medium heat, and add whole chilli peppers. Dry cook, turning regularly, until they darken in color, about 2 minutes. Be careful, they burn quickly. Remove when they soften and darken.
  4. Heat oil in the wok on high heat, add the chicken (using a slotted spoon). Fry until cooked through, about 7-8 minutes.
  5. Add red peppers, courgette/zucchini, and spring onions/scallions. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until heated through but still crunchy.
  6. Add the reserved ⅔ of the marinade and the chillies. Cook until the sauce slightly thickens, about 2 minutes.
  7. For a thicker sauce, mix 1 tbsp. cornflour/cornstarch with a couple of tbsp. cold water and pour it in while stirring. The sauce will thicken quickly.
  8. Add peanuts (or cashews) just before serving and give them a quick stir. Serve over boiled rice (and have a glass of water ready for those chillies!).

More recipes

Leave a Comment