Video: How to make Kung Pao chicken

Amy Jiang, from Shanghai, shows how to make Kung Pao chicken.

Amy Jiang
Amy Jiang
Amy Jiang grew up in Shanghai and came to New Zealand in 2002.

At first she lived in Auckland but moved to Dunedin in 2009 to establish the Noodle Hut restaurants in Moray Pl and South Dunedin.

Kung pao chicken originated in Sichuan and is famous throughout China, she says.

Its history goes back more than 100 years and there are many versions, but this is one she learnt from her mother.



Amy's Kung Pao chicken. Photos by Peter Dowden.
Amy's Kung Pao chicken. Photos by Peter Dowden.
Kung pao chicken


4 boneless chicken drumsticks
a squirt of sesame oil
1-1½ tsp cornstarch
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
black pepper
1 carrot
2 sticks celery
½ green pepper
½ red pepper
1 spring onion
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
2 large cloves garlic
soybean oil for frying
1 Tbsp cornstarch
oyster sauce
2-4 Tbsp Chinese chilli and garlic paste or sauce (or to taste)
salted roast peanuts 



Wash the meat and cut it into dice. Put it in a bowl and sprinkle with cornstarch, sugar, salt, pepper and a squirt of sesame oil. Mix well so the chicken is covered with the flavourings and leave to marinate.

Peel the strings from the back of the celery sticks and remove the leaves. Slice diagonally.

Peel the carrot, slice lengthwise then cut into diagonal chunks. Put them in boiling water and cook for a few minutes until just starting to soften. Then remove and drain.

Slice the peppers and spring onion. Crush the garlic cloves and slip the skins off. Slice finely. Slice the ginger finely.

Heat a pot and pour in about 2.5cm of oil. When the oil is hot, remove from heat, add the chicken pieces and their marinade carefully. Return to heat and allow to bubble, stirring occasionally until the chicken changes colour and is cooked. Strain the chicken in a sieve and leave to drain, saving the oil.

For the sauce, put about a tablespoon of cornstarch in a bowl and mix with about cup water - you may not need the full amount. Put about a tablespoon of oyster sauce in a bowl and thin with a little water.

Now you are ready to start cooking.

Heat a wok, then add a couple of tablespoons of oil from cooking the chicken. Allow it to heat, stirring until it stops sizzling. Add the spring onions, garlic and ginger and stir-fry until it is aromatic. Add the pepper, celery and carrot. Stir and continue to cook for a minute or so. Season with about ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp sugar and pepper. Then add chilli and garlic sauce to your taste, and when it is stirred in and hot, add the chicken. When the chicken is heated through, add the thinned oyster sauce and enough of the dissolved cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Stir in a handful of salted roast peanuts.

Serve with extra peanuts sprinkled on top, with rice and vegetables.