The Food Lab: The Realest-Deal Kung Pao Chicken (Gong Bao Ji Ding)


For those of you keeping score at home (I know you’re out there), yes, this is the third recipe for kung pao chicken that I’ve published here on Serious Eats in the last seven years. The first version was funky and fiery with fermented chili bean paste, chicken thighs, and leeks. The second was a decidedly milder version made with bell peppers and celery, just like at those Upper West Side Chinese takeout joints. The version I’m sharing today is based upon the kung pao chicken I tasted at the source in Chengdu: a simpler yet more nuanced version than either, and a near-perfect weeknight dish.
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