Crunchy Kung Pao Chicken Recipe
I (Coach Emily) love stir fry meals and make them almost weekly, but lately I’ve been on a kung pao chicken kick. Between the carrots and celery and the peanuts on top, the crunch that characterizes the dish is so satisfying. Plus, it’s healthy and easy to make (takes 20-25 minutes total)…hence why I’ve made it twice already this week and it’s only Thursday.
If you’re looking for a new recipe that is crunchy and colorful, especially if you enjoy some spice in your kitchen, this one’s for you. It’s best served over white or brown rice, but I also eat it plain and feel completely satiated. Serves 4-5 people (or just yourself but with leftovers).
- 1.5 lb boneless chicken tenders or thighs, cut into small chunks
- 2 tbsp sesame oil (can sub olive oil)
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper and 1 green pepper, diced
- 5-6 large mushrooms, thinly sliced or cubed
For the sauce:
- 1.5 tsp sesame oil (can sub olive oil)
- 1.5-2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1.5 tbsp chicken broth (homemade or store-bought)
- 1.5 tsp honey or agave
- 1.5 tsp peanut butter
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
- 1-2 tsp siracha (depending on your spice preference)
- 1-2 tsp corn starch
- Dice & chop up all the vegetables and set aside in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp of the sesame or olive oil and shake around in the bowl to coat the vegetables.
- In a stove top pan, sauté the chicken tenders in the other 1 tbsp of the oil. (Personally, I think it’s easier to cook the chicken tenders whole first, then cut them up before throwing them in with the vegetables, because cutting raw chicken makes for a bad time).
- After the chicken has been cooking for about 3 minutes, pour the vegetables, garlic and ginger into another sauce pan or a large wok. Cook on medium-low heat. As soon as the chicken is cooked thoroughly but not yet beginning to brown, take it off the heat and, when cool enough, cube in 1″ pieces. Throw the cubes in with the stir fry and continue to cook.
- While you’re waiting, make your sauce: Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until relatively smooth. The peanut butter may remain in small clumps within the sauce, but don’t worry, everything will mix fine once the sauce is added to your stir fry.
- Once the chicken and veggies begin to crisp on the edges, turn off the heat and pour your sauce over the mixture.
- To serve, sprinkle with peanuts for an extra satisfying crunch.