20 Ways to Prepare Poultry: Kung Pao Chicken

Kari Lund


Recipes, Nutrition


Chicken and turkey are popular for being high in protein and low in saturated fats making a mealtime staple for athletes as well as in many healthy eating households. Falling back on the same old recipes starts to become mundane and a little too routine. Finding new ways to cook up the standard bird and keep it interesting (and keep your taste buds dancing) is time-consuming but in this series of recipes, I will highlight many different ways to prepare your poultry so your meal rotation is anything but boring. So whaddya say? Let’s play chicken!


Sichuanese chicken dishes such as an authentic Kung Pao Chicken are known for their spicy kick bite after bite. I’ve tamed this one down a bit by using chili paste rather than Sichuan peppercorns. Common as a take-out dish, this version of Kung Pao subs in a few healthier ingredients like a lower sodium tamari and honey rather than sugar. Toasted cashews are also included in place of the more traditional peanuts and this variation uses spinach as the main vegetable component.



Stir-fry style meals are typically served with rice or noodles to complete the dish. I recently discovered a unique par-cooked dried ramen style noodle that is perfect for using as a base with Kung Pao Chicken. Par-cooked noodles like these create result in a quick to prepare side for Asian dishes in particular. Ramen has been given a bad rap mostly due to the infamous instant ramen popularly (and embarrassingly) used for “meals” in my college years. This, however, is not the same ramen. These long lanky noodles are a two ingredient mixture of organic brown rice and millet so they are a great gluten-free alternative to Japanese wheat noodles. Brown rice and millet ramen gives this meal a slight nuttiness that is a perfect partner to the savory flavors present in this Sichuan style sauce.


Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

Calories 489, Protein 35g, Carbs 41g, Fat 19g


Prep time: 15 min plus marinating time

Cook time: 20 min

Serves: 4


Marinade Ingredients:


  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium tamari soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine (or mirin or sake)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder


Kung Pao Ingredients:


2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 can sliced water chestnuts

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon low sodium tamari soy sauce

1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine (or mirin or sake)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

1 teaspoon sambal oelek (chili paste) or more to taste

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1/4 cup chicken broth

2 cups baby spinach leaves

1/2 cup toasted cashews

1 green onion, chopped

2 pieces organic brown rice and millet ramen noodles


Preparation Instructions:


  1. Combine marinade ingredients with chicken in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  2. Heat a wok or large sauté pan with the coconut oil.
  3. Add chestnuts, garlic and ginger to the wok and stir fry until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Stir in tamari, rice wine, sesame oil, chili paste, honey, vinegar, and broth.
  5. Add chicken and stir fry until chicken is cooked through.
  6. While chicken is cooking, prepare your rice noodles according to instructions.
  7. Toss in spinach leaves and cook until spinach is wilted.
  8. Stir in cashews and garnish with green onion to serve over noodles.


If you want to kickstart your clean eating campaign, there is no better way than to start Kari's 28 Day Clean Eating Challenge now. It's designed for ordinary people who are busy and have a lot of demands on their time.
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