Wun’s kung pao chicken
- October 2021
- Serves 3-4 as part of a meal
- Hands-on time 45 min, plus marinating
Discover how to make the perfect kung pao chicken with this step-by-step recipe from chef Arty Florea of Wun’s Tea Room in London.
Find out the secrets to more cult dishes with our chef recipes from restaurants.
- 55.2g (12.7g saturated)
- 34g (13.4g sugars)
- 500g skin-on free-range chicken thighs, boned
- 5 tbsp cornflour
- 5 tbsp tapioca flour (see Know How)
- 1 litre vegetable oil for frying
- Toasted sesame seeds to serve
For the marinade
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- Grated zest and juice 1 orange
- 40ml soy sauce
- 2cm fresh ginger, chopped
- ¾ tsp chinese five-spice powder
- ½ tsp 13-spice mix (see Easy Swaps)
- 1 tsp salt
- 150ml sunflower oil
- 250ml buttermilk (see Easy Swaps)
- 1 tbsp shaoxing rice wine
For the kung pao sauce
- 2½ tsp sichuan peppercorns
- 110g doubanjiang (see Know How)
- 65ml black rice vinegar (or use regular rice wine vinegar)
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 140g honey
- 175g salted butter
- 160g natural yogurt
You’ll also need
- Food processor
- Blender or large pestle and mortar
Useful to have
- Probe thermometer
- Put the marinade ingredients and 75ml water in a food processor or spice grinder and whizz until smooth (or pound together in a pestle and mortar).
- Cut each chicken thigh into 4-6 pieces and put in a bowl. Add the marinade, toss to coat, then set aside for at least 20 minutes (see Make Ahead).
- For the kung pao sauce, whizz the sichuan peppercorns in a spice grinder (or pound in a pestle and mortar), then tip into a pan with the doubanjiang, black rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey and 100ml water. Add the butter, then put the pan over a medium heat to warm through and melt the butter – you don’t want it to boil. Mix in the yogurt, then keep warm until ready to serve.
- Heat a large deep pan with the vegetable oil (no more than two-thirds full) until it reads 180°C on a probe thermometer (or a cube of bread turns brown in 15 20 seconds).
- Meanwhile, mix the cornflour and tapioca flour in a large bowl. Add the marinated chicken and use your hands to make sure each piece is well coated. The coating may look uneven, but this will create delicious crispy bits. Working in batches, use tongs to lower the chicken into the hot oil and fry until the pieces are crisp, lightly golden and cooked all the way through (about 3-4 minutes).
- Drain the fried chicken, then add to a bowl, toss with a few spoonfuls of the kung pao sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds – enjoy!
Easy swaps: If you can’t find 13-spice mix, use extra five-spice powder instead. You can use skimmed milk with a squeeze of lemon juice instead of buttermilk – let it stand for 10 minutes before using.
Don’t waste it: This recipe makes about 300ml kung pao sauce – more than you’ll need. Store leftovers in the fridge for 1-2 days and toss with noodles, stir-fried veg or fried tofu.
Marinate the chicken (step 2) up to 12 hours ahead. Cover and chill, taking the chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before frying. The kung pao sauce can be made 1-2 days ahead, then covered and chilled. Gently warm before coating the chicken.
You’ll find doubanjiang (a hot, fermented bean paste) and black rice vinegar in Chinese supermarkets and at souschef.co.uk. You could use another chilli sauce, but the dish won’t taste quite the same.
Tapioca flour is a gluten-free starch made from the cassava plant. You can buy it from large supermarkets. If you can’t find any, use more cornflour.
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