My favorite part about making Kung Pao Chicken at home is being able to choose exactly what vegetables are in it and I can make it as spicy as I want. For my recipe, I just used carrots and chives but you could very easily add peppers, water chestnuts, yellow onions, or whatever other vegetables appeal to you.
When you get into stir-frying, it’s important that the oil is heated before you add the ingredients. You also don’t want to overfill your pan because this will lead to things not cooking evenly. Basically, with your Kung Pao Chicken, you just want a single layer in the pan at a time. Depending on the size of your pan, this could mean cooking it up in two separate batches but everything should cook up pretty quickly in the hot pan.
P.F. Chang’s Kung Pao Chicken
Time to make: 45 minutes (about 2 episodes of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
¼ cup chopped chives
¼ cup unsalted peanuts
2-3 chicken breasts
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
½-1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (depends on preference of spiciness)
1 tsp ginger
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
2-3 tbsp sesame oil
¼ cup corn starch
- Peel the carrots and thinly slice them.
- I like to roughly chop the peanuts so they aren’t whole or just halved. Really, this is all about personal preference.
- Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes.
- To make your sauce, you are going to combine the chili garlic paste, soy sauce, honey, ginger, and red pepper flakes.
- If you plan on freezing half of this recipe, combine half of the sauce, carrots, chives, and peanuts in a freezer Ziploc bag.
- In a large Ziploc, combine the chicken and cornstarch. Shake the Ziploc until the chicken is evenly coated. It’s going to stick together at this point because that is just what corn starch does to things.
- If you own a wok, now is the time to use it. If you don’t own a wok, a large saute pan will do just fine. Add the sesame oil to the pan and turn on heat to medium-medium/high. Keep an eye on this oil. Once it is hot (you can tell this by splashing just a droplet of water into the oil; if it bubbles, it’s hot), add the chicken to the pan. Use a spatula to separate the pieces of chicken if the corn starch has caused it to stick together. The chicken should cook rather quickly, about 6-7 minutes. Stir the chicken about every thirty seconds. Cut into a piece to see if it is cooked throughout. It should no longer be pink in the middle.
- If freezing, move about half of the chicken into a separate bowl and allow to cool.
- Add the peanuts, carrots, and chives to the pan. Stir it in with the chicken.
- Add the sauce to the pan.
- Stir regularly and allow the sauce to cook. As it is all heated, it will begin to adhere more to the chicken and darken in color. The sauce will thicken as well. Once the sauce has thickened and darkened in color, congratulations, you have a yummy dinner.
- Freezing: Once the chicken has cooled a bit, put it in a separate freezer Ziploc from your sauce so that it can be laid out in a single layer. If you don’t have it in a single layer, it will freeze into one big chunk and be impossible to recook effectively. Allow to freeze flat. To reheat, put the Ziploc of sauce in a bowl of warm water so that it defrosts. Heat up some oil in a pan. Add the chicken and cook for about 5-8 minutes or until it is reheated throughout. Add the sauce to the pan and cook until it adheres to the chicken and darkens, just like the first time.