Kung Pao Chicken Recipe NZ

As one of the standout kung pao chicken recipe NZ has to offer, this dish, while not strictly traditional, has all the richness and flavour you want. You’ll find the quick marinating of the chicken means it’s beautifully tender. And what better side to complement this rich dish than a fresh cucumber salad? Let’s explore this delightful wok-fried or slow-cooker kung pao chicken!


Meat & Marinade

550–600g Bird & Barrow Free Range Chicken Breast

2 tsp cornflour

2 tsp Shaoxing wine

2 tsp oil

Generous pinch salt

Generous pinch of white pepper


1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp black vinegar

1 tsp sugar

4 tbsp water

2 tsp cornflour

Remaining Ingredients

1 rounded tsp Sichuan peppercorns

2 tsp finely grated ginger

4 cloves garlic, diced

4 spring onions, cut into 1½ cm pieces (white and green, discard root)

6 whole dried red chillies

1 red capsicum, core removed, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 green capsicum, core removed, cut into bite-sized pieces

½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts

Oil for frying

To Serve

Additional sliced spring onions, fresh coriander leaves, steamed rice


  1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Mix together the cornflour, Shaoxing wine, oil, salt and white pepper. Pour over the chicken and toss to ensure it is evenly coated. Place in fridge to marinade for 30–40 minutes. This process will make the chicken wonderfully tender.
  2. Whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside until time to use.
  3. Toast the peppercorns in a dry skillet over low heat until lightly golden. Crush into a powder using a mortar and pestle. A sieve can be handy in filtering out larger chunks, ensuring a smooth powder.
  4. Heat a generous glug of oil in a sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken in two batches until browned on 2 sides. Remove from pan.
  5. Wipe out the pan and heat another glug of oil over a slightly reduced heat. Add the ginger, garlic, spring onions and whole chillies. Fry for a few minutes. Add the peppercorns and the capsicums. Cook, stirring often, for 2–3 more minutes.
  6. Add the chicken and the sauce (give the sauce another stir before adding). Cook for 3–4 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir through the peanuts. Garnish as desired.
  7. Serve immediately with steamed rice and cucumber salad.

Note: If opting for slow cooker kung pao chicken(rather than pan-fried), lightly toast the spices before combining with the chicken and letting it cook fully in the slow cooker.

Cucumber Salad


3 Lebanese cucumbers

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon black vinegar

2 cloves garlic – finely diced garlic

To serve: toasted sesame seeds


  1. Halve the cucumbers lengthways. Use a large wide knife to “smash” down the length of the cucumbers. They don’t need to necessarily split (though fine if they do). Cut on a diagonal. Whisk the remaining ingredients together and pour over the sliced cucumbers. Toss well and place in the fridge until needed. About 30 minutes will give the flavours a good chance to develop.

Cooking Tips for Kung Pao Chicken

Healthy Alternative Ingredients

Seeking a kung pao chicken recipe healthy version? Consider substituting the soy sauce with low-sodium soy sauce, and reduce the amount of oil used for frying. If you prefer, you can also opt for skinless chicken thighs for a juicier end result while maintaining a leaner profile.

Embrace the NZ Touch

To truly make the kung pao chicken recipe NZ style, consider adding local produce. Fresh herbs or seasonal veggies can make this classic Chinese dish sing with New Zealand flair. Local honey can also be a sweet alternative to sugar if you’re up for a bit of adventure in taste.

Slow Cooker Adaptation

While the recipe provided uses a traditional stovetop method, the kung pao chicken can also be adapted for a slow cooker. After marinating the chicken, instead of searing it, place all the ingredients except the peanuts and fresh garnishes into your slow cooker. Set it on low for 4-5 hours or high for 2-3 hours. This slow cooker kung pao chicken method allows for the flavours to meld beautifully, creating a rich, deep taste. Remember to add the peanuts just before serving to retain their crunch.

Peanut Preferences

Roasted peanuts offer a delightful crunch to the dish. If you have unroasted peanuts at home, simply toast them on a pan for a few minutes until they turn golden. Be cautious, as peanuts can burn quickly!

Spice Factor

While 6 dried red chillies offer a substantial kick, feel free to adjust according to your preference. For a milder taste, deseed the chillies or reduce their number.

Rice and More

While steamed rice is a classic accompaniment, feel free to pair this with noodles or even a bed of sautéed greens for a diverse taste experience.


How does the Kung Pao Chicken recipe fit the NZ palate?

When it comes to ourkung pao chicken recipe, NZ local produce is the star of the show, making it a favourite amongst local food enthusiasts. By adding locally sourced herbs or vegetables, you"ll be giving this classic Chinese dish a delightful Kiwi touch.

Can I make a healthier version of this Kung Pao Chicken?

Absolutely! Ourkung pao chicken recipe healthyalternative suggests using low-sodium soy sauce and reducing the oil quantity for frying. Choosing skinless chicken thighs offers a juicy yet leaner option for the dish.

I'm a fan of using my slow cooker. Can I use it for this recipe?

Yes, the recipe can be adapted for a slow cooker. This slow cooker kung pao chicken method involves placing all ingredients (except peanuts and fresh garnishes) into the cooker after marinating. Set on low for 4-5 hours or high for 2-3 hours. Just before serving, add the peanuts for that essential crunch.

What kind of chicken is best for the recipe?

Bird & Barrow's Free Range Chicken Breast is ideal for this dish. Our free-range chickens ensure the meat is tender, juicy, and packed with natural flavours, elevating the overall taste of your Kung Pao Chicken.