Chicken · dinner · entree · keto

Kung Pao Chicken

When we visited Bozeman, Montana this summer Rob and I stumbled upon a cute and quirky little spice shop. I loaded up with all the spice blends that smelled the best (an incredible garlic and herb one, plus Italian seasoning) and then got things I needed but couldn’t easily find in OKC (aji amarillo chile powder, fleur de sel, and Birds Eye chiles).

I had been meaning to make Kung Pao chicken for years, but I didn’t think I could do a recipe justice if I didn’t use whole chiles in the stir-fry. I searched high and low in Oklahoma, but couldn’t find anything that closely resembled Birds Eye or Thai Bird chiles. We’ve got tons of dried ancho and chipotle chiles here, but nothing of the smaller variety.

Once I scooped up a bag of the chiles at the cute little spice shack in Montana, I went to work making a Kung Pao chicken that would taste as good as I imagined. I wanted it to be spicy, savory—and with a thick sauce and tender chicken. I wanted it to be better than takeout. I wanted it to be perfect.

This is what I ended up with: a culmination of the best Kung Pao flavors and a dinner fit for a king. I served scoops of this stir fry with cauliflower rice and had quite the dinner at work for a few days.

Pro-tip: you can use soy sauce in place of the tamari. I just had tamari on hand, and I like it because it’s a little bit more thick than regular soy sauce. Regular soy sauce will be a-okay.

If you absolutely can’t find Birds Eye chiles, just use some dried red pepper flakes. It’ll bring the heat—it won’t taste quite the same—and it will get the job done in a pinch. If you’re on the hunt for Birds Eye chiles, try an Asian supermarket. You might be able to find them there.

Enjoy!

Kung Pao Chicken

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A spicy Chinese takeout classic made simple in one skillet.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 2 zucchini, cut into halfmoons
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup cashews, divided
  • 1 TBS. olive oil
  • 1 TBS. sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup Birds Eye chiles (whole)
  • 1/2 cup tamari
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 TBS. fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. sweetener (sugar, erythritol, truvia)
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 3 green onions, sliced

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the tamari, water, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, sweetener and xanthan gum. Set aside
  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat olive oil and sesame oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook, over medium-high heat, until browned and cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.
  3. Add zucchini, bell pepper, chiles and green onion to wok/skillet. Saute until crisp-tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add chicken back to pan and stir in tamari mixture and half of the cashews. Cook, over medium-high heat, for another 4-5 minutes.
  4. Serve topped with cashews and green onions.

In a small bowl, whisk together the tamari, water, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, sweetener and xanthan gum. Set aside.

In a large skillet or wok, heat olive oil and sesame oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook, over medium-high heat, until browned and cooked through, about 6-7 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.

Add zucchini, bell pepper, chiles and green onion to wok/skillet. Saute until crisp-tender, about 2-3 minutes.

Add chicken back to pan and stir in tamari mixture and half of the cashews. Cook, over medium-high heat, for another 4-5 minutes.

Serve topped with cashews and green onions.

3 thoughts on “Kung Pao Chicken

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