Thursday, January 10, 2013

Kung Pao Pork Recipe

Kung Pao Pork 

Traditionally chicken is used to make Kung Pao but there is nothing wrong in using pork. Pork is closer to chicken compared with other meats such as lamb, beef or dog. 

Little bit of history. According to Wikipedia Kung Pao chicken, also known as Gong Bao chicken, is believed to be named after Ding Baozhen, a late Qing Dynasty official, a one-time governor of Sichuan. His title was Gong Bao, hence Gong Bao chicken. 

Kung Pao pork may sound complex but it is quite easy to prepare. The list of ingredients includes ‘exotic’ items such as chinkiang vinegar. Don’t be alarmed, you can easily substitute with everyday ingredients to get the desired sweet, sour, salty and spicy combination. The most important ingredient is Sichuan peppercorns. There is no substitute that I am aware of. Of course you can make the dish without it but it will not be the same. The American version does not use Sichuan peppercorns since it was illegal to import it from 1968 until 2005. 

Don’t let the long list of ingredients discourage you. When I see recipes with many ingredients I usually try to avoid it. I try to stick with recipes that have single digit number of ingredients but this one has about 20 items, though some of them are repeated. When you take a closer look, it is not complex. You first mix all the marinade ingredients and that takes care of 5 items. You mix and set aside the sauce ingredients and that takes care of a further 7 items. You are then left with just a few items. Once you make the sauce and marinade mix, the rest of the dish is like preparing a simple stirfry. If you want you can exclude all the marinade ingredients and cook the pork without marinating it. I think the difference will not be much. It is probably best to deep fry the pork in this case.

Recipe adopted from With a Glass. The serving size is two.

About 160-200 grams pork, diced into 1½ cm cubes (or enough pork for two persons, any cut of pork will do)
5 spring onions (white parts) cut into 1½ cm pieces
3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons oil
Minimum 10 dried Sichuan chilies or any chili will do
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
2-3 tablespoons peanuts or cashew nuts, roasted (or preferably raw nuts deep fried in oil)

2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (or white wine)
1½ teaspoon corn starch
1 tablespoon water

3 teaspoons sugar
¾ teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
3 teaspoons Chinkiang vinegar (substitute with other vinegars such as red wine/red rice/balsamic/apple cider)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons chicken stock or water

1.      Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl, add pork and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes
2.      In a separate bowl mix all the sauce ingredients 
3.      Heat oil in a wok over high heat, add chilies and Sichuan peppercorns and cook until crispy and aromatic, but not burnt
4.      Add pork and cook until almost done, then add ginger, garlic and spring onions and cook until pork is done
5.      Add the sauce to the wok, stirring continuously.
6.      When sauce becomes thick, add the peanuts or cashew nuts and remove from heat. Kung Pao Pork is now ready to wok and roll

Kung Pao Pork


  1. Beautiful version of kung pao, Mr. Three-Cookies! I love pork (my second favourite meat after chicken), so I will certainly prepare your version soon. (Why haven't I thought about it earlier???).
    I have never had dog meat, but I suppose and believe you that pork is closer to chicken ;-)
    I agree that Sichuan pepper is the only ingredient that has no replacement. I'm always appalled learning how many food products are or have been forbidden in the USA...
    I find Chinkiang vinegar easily here, but I often substitute the wine with... sake! and I think it tastes great.
    I really like your transformation! Thank you for the link and mention.

    1. Thank you Sissi.
      I haven't had dog meat either, not yet anyway. Don't think I will try making Kung Pao dog.
      I was surprised to hear about the ban. I think US should be banned from exporting its chicken and other products. I saw US chicken breasts in Central Asia, really huge, seemed artificial.


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