Monday, December 21, 2009


Prep ingredients earlier in the day, then sit down to a Kung Pao Chicken dinner in 20 minutes!

This Dragon Lady signature dish has a slight tinge of spiciness to it.  But if you prefer more “pow” to your kung pao, add 1 ( or 2 , or 3!) more green Serrano chili to the recipe, or sprinkle in some red pepper flakes during the last 3 minutes of stir-frying.  If you prefer white meat, you can also substitute boneless, skinless chicken breast for the chicken thighs (note:  the breast meat will cook faster than the thigh meat).

Serves 4
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon corn starch, divided
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup white wine
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger root (Microplane zester grater works best), or ½ teaspoon ginger powder
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon white pepper
4 garlic cloves
4 green Serrano chilies
6 stalks celery (about 3 cups, chopped)
1 large yellow onion (about 3 cups, chopped)
4 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce (in Asian food aisle of most grocery stores)
¼ teaspoon salt

Steamed white or brown rice

Trim off excess fat from chicken thighs and cut meat into 1/2” pieces.  Place in a shallow bowl.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of corn starch on chicken and turn to coat.  In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, wine, ginger, sugar and white pepper.  Pour 1/8 cup of the marinade mixture over the chicken and turn to coat.  Set aside.  (If prepping in advance, cover chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.  Take out 30 minutes before stir-frying.).  Add the other 1 tablespoon of corn starch to the remaining marinade; stir until dissolved and set aside.

While chicken is marinating, finely mince the garlic and set aside.  Finely mince the chilies

including all the seeds, but discard the stems.  Set aside.  Chop the celery stalks and yellow onion into 1/2” dice and set aside in individual piles.  In a wok or large sauté pan, heat 4 tablespoons of the vegetable oil on highest heat possible for 1 minute.  Add the garlic and chilies and stir-fry for 30 seconds.  Add chicken and black bean sauce.  Stir-fry quickly, until chicken is seared and almost done, about 3-4 minutes.  Remove from wok.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the hot wok; wait 30 seconds for oil to heat.  Add onion and stir-fry for 1 minute.  Add celery, stir-fry for 1 minute.  Sprinkle salt on the vegetables.  Add chicken back to wok, along with the reserved marinade.  Stir-fry until chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes.  Serve with steamed rice.


  1. Kung Pao just happens to be my husbands favorite. I have yet to make it the way he likes it. Can't wait to try this. Thank you Mrs. Cravitz of Napa

  2. I ended up serving this to Doug, Dan and Cheryl for dinner on New Year's Eve and it was a big hit - yum! Keep 'em coming Mary!

  3. made this for my family on new years weekend. They loved it. Next time I will use only 3 chilies. We will definitely be making this again. Thank you for sharing Mary.
    Ann O

  4. Kung Pao was delicious! I followed the recipe EXACTLY and my whole family loved it. The heat from the peppers was perfect and the celery was a perfect ingredient in it. We did s sticky white rice and that was all that was needed to balance it out perfect (not to mention the Cake Bread Chardonnay that was added and of course poured at dinner). Would love to see more meals like this chicken one or even a pork one? Perfect! Thanks. Yum.