Kung Pao-esque Chicken

I decided to try something a bit different one weekday dinner. Ben makes a pretty mean lemon chicken, so I wanted to give him a run for his money with a kung pao chicken. I found a really good recipe from Jamie Oliver, I quite like his recipes, they’re very sensible, and he’s a very relaxed home cook, particularly in his measurements.

Unfortunately, when I got home, I discovered that I did not have Szechuan peppercorns! Nevertheless, that did not deter me, I simply substituted the szechuan peppercorns with a mixture of black peppercorns, some mexican spicy seasoning, and smokey paprika. Totally not Asian, but it did work!

Thus, Kung Pao-esque chicken was born.

Prep and Cooking time: 1.5 hours

Serves: 2-4 people

Source: Adapted from http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/chicken-recipes/kung-pao-chicken/


1 tablespoon mixed black peppercorns, mexican spicy seasoning, and smokey paprika

2½ tablespoons cornflour

4 skinless chicken thighs, (350g)

vegetable oil for frying

4 cloves of garlic, finely diced

5 cm piece of ginger, cut/sliced into very fine batons

2 spring onions

6 dried red chilli flakes

2 tablespoons soy sauce

½ tablespoon rice vinegar

1 heaped tablespoon runny honey

50 g unsalted peanuts


  1. Mix black peppercorns, mexican spicy seasoning, smokey paprika and 2 tablespoons of cornflour and stir to combine.
  2. Chop the chicken into bite-sized chunks, then toss in the cornflour mixture to coat.
  3. Pour 2cm of oil into a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add the chicken and fry for 7 to 8 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, peel and finely slice the garlic and ginger, then trim and finely slice the spring onions.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a double layer of kitchen paper to drain. Carefully remove and discard most of the oil, leaving about 2 tablespoons in the pan, then return to a medium heat.
  6. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for 2 minutes, or until lightly golden, then stir in the spring onions and whole chillies and fry for 1 further minute.
  7. Meanwhile, combine ½ tablespoon of cornflour and 2 tablespoons of water. Mix in the soy, vinegar and honey, then pour the mixture into the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  8. Lightly bash and add the peanuts, stir in the chicken, then toss well until warmed through.
Frying off my chicken bits
Drain residual oil from your chicken bits
Starting the sauce now
Mix those chicken bits in
Looks good enough to eat!
Kung Pao-esque Chicken!

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