Gong Bao Ji Ding or Kung Pao Chicken

This delicious Chinese chicken dish that apparently was labeled as politically incorrect during the cultural revolution is known under two names: Kung Pao and Gong Bao Ji Ding. The dish is named after a late Qing Dynasty governor of Sichuan called Ding Baozhen. But why two names of the same dish you may ask. Kung Pao is derived from Ding’s title, Gong Bao, and actually the two names of the dish refer to two different versions: the original Sichuan version (Gong Bao Ji Din) and the American version (Kung Pao chicken).

The most important difference is that the Sichuan version contains Sichuan pepper corns while the American version does not. For many years Sichuan pepper corns were illegal to import into the United States as they were potential carriers of a citrus tree disease. Nowadays there are new ways to process the pepper corns and the ban is abolished. But still the ban is the reson for the two different versions and why the American version doesn’t incorporate Sichuan pepper.

This recipe is my own version, a combination of the two versions. It’s probably not very authentic but it’s very tasty and both me and my husband love it. Add more garlic and pepper if wanted.

This is also an entry for Chinese Take-out party hosted by Mochachocolata-Rita. The lovely round up can be seen and read here.

Gong Bao Ji Ding or Kung Pao Chicken – my way
(serves 2-3 depending on hunger)

2 tsp sesame oil, for frying
1.5 tsp Sichuan pepper, crushed
1 medium sized dried chili (medium hot), crushed
450 gram chicken thighs (de-boned and skinless)
2 large garlic cloves, finely grated or chopped
0.5 tsp ground ginger
6-8 spring onions
100 gram roasted peanuts

2 tsp soya
1 tsp water

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soya
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp instant concentrated chicken stock
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp light brown muscovado sugar
1 small pinch of Maldon sea salt
1 tsp maizena

Cut the chicken in bite size pieces or dices. In a bowl combine chicken with marinade ingredients.

Combine all sauce ingredients in a separate bowl.

Heat 2 tsp of sesame oil in a wok or frying pan on medium heat. Fry the chili and Sichuan peppar for 2 minutes. Increase heat, add chicken and fry until the meat is almost white inside. In the meanwhile, chop the spring onions: discard 1/3 of the green and chop the rest.

Add garlic, ginger and chopped spring onions to the chicken. Stir-fry for a few minutes.

Stir the sauce and pour it into the pan/wok. Stir until the sauce has thickened a bit and then stir in the peanuts. Serve with cooked rice.

16 Responses to “Gong Bao Ji Ding or Kung Pao Chicken”

  1. Rita
    May 8th, 2008 11:36

    A very informative post of Kung Pao Chicken, well done! Thanks so muchh for bringing something to my party…now I really wish it isn’t virtual :)

  2. Rosa
    May 8th, 2008 11:57

    A delicious dish! Chinese food tastes so great!



  3. jef
    May 8th, 2008 12:03

    This is indeed a popular dish in just about every US Chinese establishment. Depending on where you are and who the clients are, this dish varies quite a bit.

    In the US, we do get a version with sichuan peppercorns in it but those places usually cater to the Asian population.

    As far as I can tell, the only constants in this recipe are:
    - chicken
    - peanuts
    - something spicy (chili peppers, peppercorns, white pepper)

    I’ve seen all sorts of crazy vegetables added to this dish as well as none at all. I’m pretty sure your dish is just as authentic as everything we get here :)

  4. jj
    May 8th, 2008 15:05

    Sounds very good – and healthy, too! :)

  5. Anne
    May 8th, 2008 19:12

    That looks incredibly delicious, I have to try it!

  6. Daniel
    May 8th, 2008 21:37

    Jag tycker dun sida är jätte fin kul att du gör lite tårtor ocg desserter också må så gott mvh Daniel Roos the Pastry Designer

  7. Dagmar
    May 9th, 2008 17:17

    Rita: Too bad the party is virtual! :-)

    Rosa: I love Chinese food!

    Jef: Thank you very much for the long comment and info.

    jj: Yes, it’s quite healthy :-)

    Anne: I really recommend trying it.

    Daniel: Hej och välkommen! Tack så mycket!

  8. diva
    May 9th, 2008 17:39

    that is actually my favourite chinese dish! looks so yummy.

  9. Mary Coleman
    May 9th, 2008 21:58

    That looks so good. I can’t wait to try it.
    Love your blog. I’ll be back.

  10. Kevin
    May 10th, 2008 23:50

    This looks really tasty and I just found some Sichuan Peppercorns! Bookmarked.

  11. Lara
    May 13th, 2008 02:59

    I tried this and loved it!!! I only added bell peppers, carrots and mushrooms..lol.. but that’s my way :0) Thank you for the recipe.

  12. Dagmar
    May 13th, 2008 09:08

    Diva: I think it’s one of my favourites as well.

    Mary: Thank you!! You’re always welcome.

    Kevin: Great that you found some Sichuan pepper!

    Lara: I’m glad you liked it! Cooking is all about adding and mixing!! :-)

  13. Sophie
    May 14th, 2008 22:45

    This is such a delicious recipe, I’m gonna try it out soon :). Nice meeting you!

  14. Dagmar
    May 15th, 2008 10:17

    Hi Sophie! Welcome!

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