Photograph of the healthy kung pao chicken recipe


Sliced mango with a squeeze of lime juice makes an ideal dessert to go with this dish.

Kung pao chicken

50 minutes
4 servings
  • Preparation time:
  • Cooking time:
  • Total time:

This legendary dish hails from China's Szechuan province and can be as hot as you like. Serve with fluffy rice for a fabulously fragrant supper.
  • Ingredients
  • Method


3 Tbsp. soy sauce/ tamari
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1½ tsp. Szechuan peppercorns, crushed with mortar and pestle (pick out stems first)
¼ tsp. ground white pepper
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves, visible fat trimmed, cut into bite-size pieces
10 dried red chili peppers, broken into 1” lengths and seeds shaken out
1 level Tbsp. cornstarch
2 level Tbsp. ketchup
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. dry sherry
½ cup chicken broth
Cooking spray*
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips, strips cut in half
8 scallions, diagonally cut into 1” lengths
1 (8-oz.) drained can bamboo shoots
1 (8-oz.) drained can water chestnuts
1 (5-oz.) bag baby spinach
*Up to 10 short sprays of any cooking spray are Free. After that, count ½ Syn for every additional 5 sprays.


  1. In a large bowl, mix 1½ tablespoons soy sauce, the vinegar, garlic, Szechuan peppercorns and white pepper. Add the chicken and dried chilis and toss to mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cornstarch, ketchup, tomato paste, sherry and the remaining 1½ tablespoons soy sauce. Whisk smooth, then whisk in the broth.
  3. Remove about half of the red chilis from the chicken, or remove all for a less spicy dish. Spray a large nonstick or ceramic skillet with cooking spray* and place over medium heat. With tongs, lift the chicken and remaining chilis from the bowl and add to the skillet. Discard the marinade.
  4. Cook the chicken, tossing often, for 5-6 minutes, or until it’s mostly opaque on the outside and about half cooked. Add the bell pepper, scallions, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Toss well, cover, and cook, stirring a few times for 4–5 minutes, or until the bell pepper is crisp-tender and the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Whisk the broth mixture again, pour it into the skillet and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat slightly and cook gently for 2–3 minutes, tossing, until the sauce has thickened.
  6. Line a shallow serving dish with the baby spinach leaves. Spoon the chicken over the spinach and serve hot.


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