Gong Bao Chicken

This recipe can be served with rice and perhaps a side of steamed greens drizzled with a teaspoon of searingly hot sunflower oil and a little soy sauce mixed with water. Also known as Kung Pao chicken, this is a fabulous hot-sweet-sour Sichuan-Chinese dish and is very quick to make – once you’ve assembled all the ingredients. 

Chaotian chillies, also known as facing heaven chillies, are hot and fragrant chilli peppers. Unlike other chillies which point down as they grow, the chaotian chilli points up to the sky – hence the unusual name. Dried chaotian chillies are a pantry staple in the Sichuan province of China. Fry them in oil to release their fragrance, then pair with cold and numbing Sichuan peppercorns for a classic Sichuan meal.

Ingredients Serves: 4

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 500g skinless boneless chicken breast or thigh, cut into 1-2cm pieces
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 4 spring onions (some for garnish)
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 fat inch peeled fresh ginger
  • 12 chillies or 8g dried Sichuan Facing Heaven Chillies
  • 80g roasted salted peanuts (if unsalted, just add ½ tsp salt when you add the peanuts later)

For the sauce



  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg white, cornflour, Shaoxing rice wine and salt.
  2. Add the chicken and mix to coat.
  3. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes (or up to a day, if planning ahead). Meanwhile prepare your other ingredients.
  4. Cut the red pepper into 1cm pieces, discarding the seeds and stem.
  5. Cut away the green parts of 4 spring onions, finely slice and set aside for garnish.
  6. Slice the white part of the spring onion stem on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces.
  7. Mince together the garlic cloves and peeled fresh ginger.
  8. Snip the Facing Heaven chilli peppers into halves, tipping out and discarding the seeds.
  9. Measure out the roasted salted peanuts (if unsalted, just add ½ tsp salt when you add the peanuts later).
© Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024

For the sauce

  1. Measure the sauce ingredients into a small bowl: cornflour, Shaoxing rice wine, dark brown sugar, Chinkiang vinegar, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil and cold chicken or vegetable stock.
  2. Heat 4 tbsp sunflower oil in your wok over a high heat. Add the chicken pieces and let sit for a minute. Move about with a spatula and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, until starting to brown.
  3. Lift out with a slotted spoon and set aside in a clean bowl. Pour away any extra oil, and clean out the wok.
  4. Add another 2 tbsp of sunflower oil to the wok on a high heat. Add the chopped pepper and spring onion and stir-fry for 1½ minutes until starting to blister.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, lift into the bowl with the chicken. Wipe out the wok with kitchen roll.
  6. Add a further 2 tbsp sunflower oil to the wok. When hot, add the Facing Heaven chillies and 2 tsp whole Sichuan peppercorns. Stir-fry for 30 seconds without burning.
  7. Add the chopped ginger and garlic and stir-fry for another minute.
  8. Add the cooked chicken, peppers, spring onions and peanuts and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Pour in the sauce and simmer for a few minutes until thickened and chicken is cooked through.
  10. Garnish with finely sliced spring onion greens and serve immediately.
© Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024

Gong Bao Chicken

Shop the Recipe


  • Just made the Gong Bao chicken. Absolutely fantastic. Shopped the recipe and worth every penny. Can’t wait to try the next recipe I fancy.

    Norma Aitken on

  • Hi Bobbie! The Chinese vinegar has a very unique flavour, so it’s tricky to find an exact substitute. However, a mixture of balsamic vinegar with either red wine vinegar or rice vinegar should get you fairly close (try both and see which flavour you prefer!). For this recipe, use 1.5 tablespoons of each vinegar – so 3 tbsp in total – to replace the Chinkiang vinegar. However, if you’re in the UK or EU we can deliver this fantastic vinegar to your door!

    With regards to the chillies, of course you can adjust the amount to suit your tolerance for spicy food. Some chilli is key to the authentic flavour of Gong Bao chicken, but if you are very sensitive to chilli heat perhaps just use one or two mild red chillies.

    We hope you’ll give this recipe a go, and if you do we’d love to know what you think!

    Aisha at Sous Chef on

  • How can I substitute the Chinese vinegars that are used in the recipe. Our shops dont have any if those vinegars exceot ordinary rice vinegar. And Can I omit the chilli completely because I find them too hot.

    Bobbie van Zyl on

  • I cooked this at the weekend and thanks to the team at Souschef, it was totally delicious. We actually used fresh prawns instead of chicken and it worked wonderfully. We also think cashews would work just as well as peanuts.

    EmaBigbird on

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