This kung pao chicken ticks all the boxes: it’s dark, mysterious and really spicy, plus has gives a wonderful tingling sensation thank to those Sichuan peppercorns. I love how the noodles soak up that luscious sauce, too… divine! Not as much of a heat fan as me? Totally fine. Just tone down the chilli action if you need to.
500g (1 lb) chicken thighs, cut into roughly 3cm cubes
2 tbsp vegetable oil
10 large dried red chillies (or to taste), cut into 3–4cm (1.5”) pieces
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
400g (14 oz) cooked noodles (e.g. hokkien or lo mein)
1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
4 spring onions (scallions), white part finely sliced and green part cut into batons
¼ cup roasted peanuts, crushed or finely chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
3 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl until well incorporated. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes.
For the stir-fry sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Set aside until required.
Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add the chillies and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Then add the garlic, ginger, pale part of the spring onion and Sichuan peppercorns. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the chicken and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked and the marinade liquid has evaporated.
Next, add the noodles and the stir-fry sauce and toss until well combined and the sauce has thickened slightly. Toss through the green parts of the spring onion. Remove from heat, divide among serving bowls and sprinkle with the peanuts.