• Kung pao chicken (The Chefs' Line)Source: The Chefs' Line

Cooking in a wok is all about the high-heat and having all your ingredients ready is key. The oomph behind kung pao is that the chicken is deep-fried first then finished off in the wok for maximum pow. The Chefs' Line






Skill level

Average: 3.9 (12 votes)


  • 250 g chicken thigh fillet, skin on 
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce 
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine 
  • 1 tbsp lightly beaten egg 
  • 5 tbsp potato starch, plus ½ tsp
  • 1-litre vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 3 cm piece ginger, thinly sliced  
  • 2 long red chillies, chopped
  • 4-5 small dried chillies 
  • 50 g five-spice tofu, cut into bite-size cubes 
  • 1 spring onion, cut into batons 
  • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • 1 tbsp Chinkiang black vinegar 
  • Steamed jasmine rice, to serve 


  • 80 g palm sugar, finely chopped 
  • 120 ml Kimlan soybean paste 
  • 1 tbsp red vinegar 
  • 100 ml Shanghai Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2 tsp prickly oil (Sichuan pepper oil)
  • Splash of sesame oil 
  • 2 pinches chilli powder 

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Combine the light soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, egg and ½ teaspoon potato starch in a bowl and mix well. Add the chicken, stir to combine well, then cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the sauce, place the palm sugar and soybean paste in a saucepan over low heat. Stir continuously until the palm sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Once cooled, stir in the remaining ingredients.

Heat the vegetable oil for deep-frying in a large saucepan to 180˚C. Add the remaining potato starch to the chicken and stir to combine. Working in small batches, shake the excess potato starch off the chicken and deep-fry for 5 minutes or until crispy and nearly cooked through. Drain on paper towel.

Heat a wok over medium heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the deep-frying oil and reduce the heat to low. Add the ginger, red chilli, dried chilli and tofu and stir until the chilli is dark red but be careful not to burn it. Add the sauce, cooked chicken, spring onions and peanuts. Increase the heat to high heat and stir-fry fast and thoroughly until well combined. Add the black vinegar and combine well, then serve immediately with the jasmine rice on the side.


This recipe is from Series 2 of The Chefs' Line airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Episodes will be available after broadcast via SBS On Demand. Join the conversation #TheChefsLine on Instagram @sbsfood, Facebook @SBSFood  and Twitter @SBS_Food. Check out sbs.com.au/thechefsline for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more!