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LYL – Kung Pao Chicken

It’s that time again! Leave a link to your blog post below, or if you don’t have a blog, leave a comment with your thoughts on the recipe. You can also follow us on our Facebook page,, or e-mail me a photo of your dish and I’ll post it here or on Facebook,

Photos: Steven Needham


28 responses »

    • Sarah, I love your photos–especially the one of the chilies and Sichuan peppercorns in oil. And your wok is gorgeous. How long have you been cooking with it? Are you able to get under the chicken with a wood spatula? I usually recommend stir-frying with a flexible metal spatula. I find the thin edge better for slipping under meat, poultry, rice, and noodles and preventing any kind of sticking—but it also looks like you’ve got a nicely seasoned wok that has a natural nonstick surface.

      • Funny you should say that, because if you look a few posts back, I was the one with the too dangerous seasoning technique 🙂 I have a metal wok spatula, but I’ve been afraid to use it because I don’t want to damage the patina. I’ll have to try it again, that might help.

    • Sarah, I have a fantastic Chinese spatula (which is the traditional tool of choice), but for some reason it’s hard to find one here in the States that I like. The alternative that I recommend is a fish or pancake spatula. I’ll post a photo of it on the Wok Wednesdays FB page tomorrow, but you can also see a photo in Sky’s Edge p16. I like the fish spatula because there’s a little bit of flexibility so it fits the curve of the wok.

      A lot of newbies get concerned about the metal spatula scratching the wok. When you first start wokking it will scratch your wok a little but as you cook and the patina intensifies the scratches will eventually disappear. The metal spatula is much better than wood for getting under ingredients like meat and poultry. Try it and tell me what you think. I’ll have to look at your seasoning post. I can’t remember what you did.

    • Just posted the spatula pix on the FB Wok Wednesdays page.

  1. I’ll be making this tomorrow hopefully!

  2. From the kind comments of friends who admired a photo I posted Monday night, clearly no one guessed that I nearly wrecked this simple-to-follow recipe. See my confession at ‘Blunderproof Kung Pao Chicken’:

    • Jill, What a brilliant idea to stir-fry with a surgical nurse culinary asst. And how great that you were able to rescue your stir-fry. You’re obviously a natural wokker!

    • “Wok Wednesdays Wonk” is so fabulous as is the name of your blog. Your dedication of your Wok Wednesdays Posts to Renee Deutsch is so sweet. Thank God she tossed your La Choy groceries. “Wok on girlfriend!” is the motto!

  3. A day late, but we did cook on the right day. Fortunately, the peppercorns arrived in the mail around lunch time. This one was fun because I used a different Wok…

  4. Wow Rob, what a cool post. Living in NYC the idea of stir-frying on a grill is only a fantasy. When I was doing the research for Sky’s Edge I tested a stir-fry on a friend’s beach grill but it wasn’t a grill with a lot of power. You have a great set up and the beauty of cooking outdoors is the natural ventilation–although I don’t envy having to be outside cooking on a 100 degree day. At least stir-fries are fast. Do you know that Tane Chan at the sells a Chinese-style cast-iron wok that’s very different from American cast-iron pans? It’s thinner, heats faster, but it also is more fragile and can shatter if you smack it against a counter or hard surface. Heidi Swanson just wrote about it in a stir-fry blog post.
    The woks are very inexpensive–I think about $13 so check it out.

    • Thanks, Grace! I’m honored. This Wok Wednesdays is too much fun. I appreciate the book more with every recipe, and the best is when my wife takes the first bite of a new recipe like this Kung Pao Chicken and her eyes nearly bulge out of her head. That’s a good sign! I really never imagined we could do stir-fries that taste this good at home.

      I’ll keep that cast-iron wok in mind. I love Heidi’s pictures. Someday I’m going to visit The Wok Shop, meet Tane Chan, and bring a wok home with me. Maybe that’ll be the one. I forgot to mention it in the blog post, but it was fun to cook on a round-bottom wok after getting used to the flat-bottom.

      • Rob, Wok Wednesdays is so fun for me getting such great feedback on the recipes and learning from what you guys are doing. As an author I couldn’t be happier to know that Sky’s Edge is empowering you to stir-fry.

        Yes, there’s nothing like stir-frying with the real thing, a round-bottomed wok. I hope you get your wish of visiting the Wok Shop. But even a phone call with Tane is fun. She’s a charming, funny lady who knows woks like no one else on the planet.

    • So interesting that the Sichuan peppercorns were labeled dried prickly ash. I’ve only seen them in Asian markets as Sichuan peppercorns. It’s a good reminder that I should warn readers they could be labeled under various names.

    • Great post Cathleen and fun photos. My heart sank a little when I read there was small complaint… but then I smiled about the ceramic chopsticks. Glad you enjoyed the Sichuan peppercorns. I think the next recipe up uses them too. They are a fabulous, intoxicating ingredient.

  5. Another taste treat from SFTTSE. Better late then never to post

  6. I cooked the Kung Pao chicken in late July and somehow posting the pictures and commenting never happened. Anyway, I loved the way the recipe turned out and served it with peapods and waterchestnuts stir-fried with garlic, ginger and bit of soy sauce.

  7. This was a learning experience for me. The taste was good, but it’s a stir-fry I’m going to need to try again in order to really get it right, I think.

  8. I love the photos and your wok is gorgeous! Mine will be arrived this week. Great blog!!! Jen


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