Full of amazing flavor, this one pot, 32 minute Kung Pao Chicken will make you rethink ordering takeout ever again!
My fiance and I are big fans of Chinese food. The only problem is that here in Italy, we can’t really find a Chinese restaurant that we like. There is one that is ok, but it is just not the same as what we are used to. It’s just Italian Chinese, instead of the usual American Chinese that we like.
We also try to make Chinese at home but sometimes it can be such a hassle. Between breading and frying the chicken, then preparing the sauce and other ingredients, it just takes too long.
I then thought about doing a crockpot version but I often found that others would first fry the chicken and then put it in the crockpot. Now to me if I have to cook something before I put it in the crockpot, that defeats the whole purpose of using a crockpot! I’m still standing around in the kitchen frying and all I’m really letting the crockpot do is keep it warm for me.
So from then on I went on a quest to find the easiest and quickest way I could to make Chinese food. To do so I knew I needed to skip the frying and long cook times and make this a one pot, nearly 30 minute meal (I say nearly 30 minutes because it took me 32 minutes to put this together the other day).
And this dish is easy. Once everything is prepped, it is just a matter of throwing everything together in a skillet and letting it cook through.
The one difference between this recipe and other recipes is that my chicken is not fried. It cuts back on both calories and time. And I’ll tell you, at first I thought I was going to miss that crunch in my chicken. But honestly, I didn’t even notice it once I started eating. The dish has such great flavor on it’s own that I didn’t even miss it.
The sauce is thick, slightly sweet, and spicy. It has a wonderful blend of textures in the soft zucchini, meaty chicken, and crunchy cashews. It really is like my favorite Chinese takeout but done at home and with just one pot in 30 minutes.
When it comes to easy, this One Pot Kung Pao Chicken takes the cake!
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" cubes
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup chopped red or white onion
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tbs cornstarch
- 3/4 cup cashews or peanuts
- Green onion, to garnish
- 2/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 tbs hoisen sauce
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- *Prepare all ingredients as mentioned above (ie, chop the zucchini, mince the garlic, etc.) before starting*
- Prepare the sauce by whisking all sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
- Next, place the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once warmed, add chicken to the pan and allow to cook until half way done, about 4 minutes. Add zucchini, bell pepper, and onion to the pan and allow to cook an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables have softened. Add the minced garlic to the pan and saute for 1 more minute.
- Pour 3/4 of prepared sauce into the skillet.With the remaining 1/4, whisk in 4 tbs cornstarch until well blended. Pour the cornstarch sauce into the skillet and allow to simmer until the sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Remove skillet from the heat and toss in cashews and green onions for garnish. Serve warm.
- 1. Prepping all ingredients before cooking is essential in this recipe! Once you start cooking, everything goes fast, so the ingredients need to be ready for use.
- 2. I cut the zucchini and bell peppers relatively small for my dish. This helps them soften faster and decrease overall cook time.
- 3. If you like more heat feel free to add more red pepper flakes!