Kung Pao Chicken with Macadamias

One of my favourite restaurants in Melbourne, Dainty Sichuan, has reconnected my love for Kung Pao chicken for their uncompromising use of Sichuan peppercorns, chilli oil and spices. The chef at Dainty Sichuan has perfectly balanced the wonderful flavours of spicy, sweet, sour and numbing sensation. It represents everything that is good about Sichuan food and it gives me a fresh perspective on how a delicious Kung Pao chicken  dish should taste like.

What better way to relive this tantalising food memory than to re-create this dish at home! As I have made this dish quite often at home, I have toned down on the chili, Sichuan peppercorns and oil just to be a little healthier.  In true Fuss Free Cooking fashion, my rendition of Kung Pao chicken has a little twist – I added macadamia instead of roasted peanuts for a touch of decadence.

Kung Pao Chicken with Macadamia

4 Servings with Rice

Kung Pao Chicken with Macadamia


  • 600g (1 pound) chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite sized
  • Ginger, 1-inched thick & finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • 2 tsps cornflour
  • Cooking oil
  • 8 Sichuan peppercorns
  • 6 dried chili, soaked and de-seeded
  • 1 Tbsp Cornwells white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp kecap manis (Indonesian Sweet Sauce)
  • 50g (2 ounces) whole macadamia
  • 1 spring onion (scallion), sliced


    Marinate the chicken the night before:
  1. Add cut chicken, ginger, garlic (2 garlic worth), 2 tsps of soy sauce and 3 drops of sesame oil and cornflour to a medium sized zip lock bag.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together and allow the chicken to marinate overnight if time permits. Otherwise marinate chicken for 30 minutes to an hour before cooking.
  3. Soak dried chili:
  4. Soak dried chilli in hot water for 5 minutes to soften.
  5. To de-seed, wear a glove on the hand you use to hold the chilli and cut dried chilli in half with a pair of scissors.
  6. Use a teaspoon to scrap the seeds.
  7. Repeat these steps with the remaining chilli.
  8. To make Kung Pao Chicken:
  9. Remove marinated chicken from the refrigerator and set aside.
  10. Heat a tablespoon of cooking oil, Sichuan peppercorns and re-hydrated dried chilli in a pan/wok over low medium heat.
  11. When the peppercorns and chilli start to sizzle, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook until you can smell the floral scent of the peppercorns.
  12. Over low heat, add garlic and saute for a couple of seconds of until aromatic.
  13. Turn the heat to medium high, add marinated chicken and stir to combine with the garlic and peppercorns.
  14. Cook the chicken until it is cooked through.
  15. Add white vinegar and kecap manis to the chicken and stir through. If the mixture seems a bit dry, add water if needed. Check for taste, add more soy sauce and sesame oil to taste.
  16. Once you are satisfied with the flavour, stir in macadamia and spring onion (reserve a small handful for garnish later).
  17. Sprinkle the remaining spring onion and serve immediately with rice.


If you wish to make your own kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce), you can follow the recipe here.


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