Asian Chicken with Peanuts

Stir the cornstarch, broth, soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil, if desired, in a medium bowl until the mixture is smooth. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry until well browned, stirring often. Remove the chicken from the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in the skillet. Add the broccoli, peppers and garlic and stir-fry until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir the cornstarch mixture in the skillet. Cook and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Return the chicken to the skillet. Stir in the peanuts and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Serve the chicken mixture with the rice.

Step 1

Stir the cornstarch, broth, soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil, if desired, in a medium bowl until the mixture is smooth.

Step 2

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry until well browned, stirring often. Remove the chicken from the skillet.

Step 3

Reduce the heat to medium. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in the skillet. Add the broccoli, peppers and garlic and stir-fry until the vegetables are tender-crisp.

Step 4

Stir the cornstarch mixture in the skillet. Cook and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Return the chicken to the skillet. Stir in the peanuts and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Serve the chicken mixture with the rice.

I’m confidant this Kung Pao Chicken recipe will be the best Chinese food you’ve ever made from home! Stir-fried chicken, peanuts, and green onion in a delicious salty, sweet, and spicy kung pao sauce, served over hot cooked rice.

Kung pao chicken has always been one of my favorite things to order at a Chinese restaurant, and this recipe is honestly just as good as any I’ve tried! I’ve made it countless times and I fall in love with it over and over again. My husband likes to joke that he feels like he needs to tip me after he’s finished eating. My big secret is how EASY this is to make.

Kung Pao chicken is one of the healthier dishes you can order from a restaurant, but it’s also way healthier made from scratch. I love being able to see and control what ingredients go in our food. I’ll often adapt this recipe and add extra vegetables to the stir-fry, like zucchini and bell peppers.

Ingredients in Kung Pao Chicken:

Don’t be intimated by the list of ingredients in this recipe because they are all really simple, and many of the sauce and marinade ingredients overlap (that’s why I like to make them at the same time, in step 1).

Traditional Kung Pao Chicken contains chicken, peanuts, and green onions. I added a bell pepper to this recipe, and you could add any other vegetables you’d like.

The sauce and marinade contain soy sauce, chicken broth, vinegar, cornstarch and chili paste. The chicken marinade and sauce ingredients really add the extra WOW flavor to this dish.

Kung Pao also includes szechuan peppers (sichuan peppercorns). They provide extra heat while the sauce is cooking, although you don’t actually eat them, unless you want you mouth to be on fire 🙂 I will be honest, I don’t always add the szechuan peppers unless I have them on hand. You can find them in Asian grocery stores or more gourmet chain stores like Whole Foods.

How to make Kung Pao Chicken:

In two separate bowls, make the chicken marinade and the sauce. The ingredients are similar for both, so I’ve found that it’s easiest to make them at the same time.

Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours.

Add oil to your wok or frying pan and heat to medium-high. Add the peanuts and red pepper flakes and toast them, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes. Remove them to a separate bowl.

Add the chicken to the hot pan evenly spaced in a single layer (you may need to cook the chicken in batches.) Cook on medium-high heat just until golden flipping only once. It doesn’t need to be cooked all the way though because it will continue to cook when we add the sauce.

Add the bell peppers, ginger, peanuts and green onion to the pan. Stir-fry for one minute.

Pour in the sauce. Stir, and cook everything together until the sauce begins to thicken. Keep in mind that the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

Remove the pan from the heat and serve the kung pao chicken over hot cooked white or brown rice.

Consider trying these popular dinner recipes:
  • Ham Fried Rice
  • Kung Pao Noodle Stir-Fry
  • Skinny Asia Chicken Stir-Fry
  • Mongolian Beef

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Restaurant Style Kung Pao Chicken

I’m confidant this Kung Pao Chicken recipe will be the best Chinese food you’ve ever made from home! Stir-fried chicken, peanuts, and green onion in a delicious salty, sweet, and spicy kung pao sauce, served over hot cooked rice. 4.96 from 24 votes Pin Course: Main Course Cuisine: Chinese Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes Servings: 4 Calories: 487kcal Author: Lauren Allen

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts , cut into small pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to increase spiciness)
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper , chopped

For the Marinade

  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the Sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste with garlic (or use sriracha hot sauce with a little minced garlic)
  • 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • hot cooked rice , for serving

Instructions

  • In two separate bowls, make the chicken marinade and the sauce ingredients. Set the sauce aside. Add the chicken to the chicken marinade and set aside.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to wok or frying pan and heat to medium. Add red pepper flakes and peanuts and stir-fry until peanuts are golden (about 2 minutes). Remove peanuts and pepper flakes to a bowl.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and bring heat to medium-high. Use a slotted spoon to scoop half of the chicken (allowing excess marinade to drip off) into the hot pan, in a single layer.
  • Cook chicken for 1-2 minutes on each side, flipping only once, until golden (chicken does not need to be completely cooked through).
  • Remove chicken to the bowl with the peanuts. Repeat with cooking remaining chicken. Return peanuts and chicken to the pan. Add ginger, bell peppers or other vegetables and green onion. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the sauce. Stir, and cook for a few minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and the sauce begin to slightly thicken.
  • Remove from heat and serve with hot cooked rice.

Notes

I always add extras vegetables that I have on hand such as bell peppers, broccoli and zucchini! Tricks for fluffy white rice:
The general rule for cooking white rice is one part rice and two parts water. However, for fluffier rice, try 1 part rice, and 1 3/4 parts water. Make sure to let the rice sit for about five minutes after cooking. Adapted from William-Sonoma

Nutrition

Calories: 487kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 1638mg | Potassium: 927mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1115IU | Vitamin C: 43.6mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1.9mg Did you make this recipe?Tag @TastesBetterFromScratch on Instagram #TastesBetterFromScratch!

Have you tried this recipe?!
RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

*I first shared this recipe in April 2013. Updated July 2018.

Nut Allergy? 5 Food Traps to Avoid When Dining Out

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Avoiding nuts can be even more challenging than it appears. According to the advocacy nonprofit Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), nearly 3 million people in the United States report having peanut and tree nut allergies, and reactions range from itchiness and hives to anaphylaxis and death. For these people, the biggest concern isn’t about eating something so obviously peanut-filled as a PB&J. Much of their worry centers on hidden nuts in foods that don’t come with labels: an eggroll that was sealed with peanut butter; a bakery cookie made with almond flour; chili sauce with nuts in it.

Not all peanut-containing foods are easy to spot. Although the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act mandates that peanuts and tree nuts (along with six other major allergens) must be disclosed on a product, there are no such guidelines for food prepared in restaurants, bakeries, or kitchens, where there are, of course, no labels.

Registered dietitian Marion Groetch, M.S., R.D., director of nutrition services with the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, works with many patients who have severe food allergies. She instructs them on how to read labels and encourages them to try to lead as normal a life as possible, while also being safe. She says: “Always be prepared for an accident. Make sure you have epinephrine with you at all times. Always read product labels and be aware of areas that might be of high risk.” And look out for these traps.

1. Bakery shops. Cookies and baked goods carry a risk of cross-contamination. Even if you’re selecting something as seemingly plain as a sugar cookie, it’s possible that the cookie or the equipment it was made on came into contact with nuts. What’s more, a number of bakeries use almond flour rather than (or in addition to) wheat flour.

2. Ice-cream parlors. Cross-contamination is an issue here, too. You may think you’re ordering a simple scoop of vanilla, but because the ice-cream scoop has been used in other flavors, traces of nuts could get into your child’s treat. Even if you request that the server use a clean scoop, traces from earlier in the day could have gotten into the ice cream. The same goes for toppings.

3. Restaurants with ethnic cuisines such as Asian, African, Indian, and Mexican. Peanuts and tree nuts are commonly found in different ethnic foods, including satay, panang curry, pad Thai, and some korma sauces. Many Chinese restaurants cook with various nuts and may use peanut butter to seal eggrolls. Woks are typically not washed between orders, so even if a dish free of peanuts and tree nuts carries a risk of cross-contamination. And nuts are part of a number of Mexican dishes, such as mole and enchilada sauce.

4. Sauces or mixed meals, such as casseroles in restaurants. A variety of sauces use peanut butter or peanut flour as a thickener. Be particularly aware of peanuts in chili, chili sauces, and even pasta sauces. With casseroles, you never know exactly what you’re getting, so when you’re dining out, simple meals, simply prepared, are safer. Groetch says that if your child has very severe food allergies or multiple food allergies, you’re often better off not ordering anything off the menu at all. Instead, make a request like, “Can you order me a chicken breast in olive oil and garlic cooked in a separate pan, using a clean pan and clean utensils?”

5. Desserts in restaurants. Nuts are common ingredients in desserts, so there is a risk in ordering one that has a hidden peanut or tree nut ingredient (ground nuts, nut flour, or a nut ingredient in a sauce) or has come in contact with peanut or tree nuts. Fresh fruit is a safer option.

  • To learn more about food allergies, visit the Food Allergy Research & Education website.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

  • By Kate Silver

Preparation

  1. Cut chicken as evenly as possible into half-inch strips, then cut strips into small cubes. Place in a small bowl. Add marinade ingredients and 1 tablespoon water to bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Peel and thinly slice garlic and ginger. Chop spring onions into chunks as long as their diameter (to match the chicken cubes). Snip chiles in half or into sections, discarding their seeds.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients.
  4. Heat a seasoned wok over a high flame. Add oil, chiles and Sichuan pepper and stir-fry briefly until chiles are darkening but not burned. (Remove wok from heat if necessary to prevent overheating.)
  5. Quickly add chicken and stir-fry over a high flame, stirring constantly. As soon as chicken cubes have separated, add ginger, garlic and spring onions and continue to stir-fry until they are fragrant and meat is just cooked through (test one of the larger pieces to make sure).
  6. Give sauce a stir and add to wok, continuing to stir and toss. As soon as the sauce has become thick and shiny, add the peanuts, stir them in and serve.

Tip

  • Store-bought roasted peanuts work well here, but if you want to roast your own peanuts, heat oven to 250 degrees. Place raw nuts on an oven tray and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until fragrant and very slightly golden. (Keep an eye on them, as they are easily burned.) Cool nuts on a plate, then rub nuts between your fingertips to loosen their skins. Shake nuts as you blow over them; skins will blow away.

Like this recipe?

Chinese food with peanuts

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