Americanized Kung Pao

I find it interesting how we so commonly “Americanize” cuisine from other countries. The changes we make, sometimes subtle, sometimes not to get a dish to fit the American palate can sometimes make the dish barely recognizable.

Never does this happen more than with cuisine from the Far East. Some dishes, like General Tso’s chicken are completely American developed. Others, like Kung Pao shrimp have really undergone important changes.

First of all, Kung Pao is related to chicken. Only upon import has it changed. Second, a key ingredient of Sichuan peppercorns has been completely removed from the recipe. While you can find Kung Pao chicken in virtually every Chinese restaurant in the U.S., it has drifted far from its original roots.

I would love to hear from readers in other countries if the same is done with “American” food. Are you aware of key changes made to dishes that are typically American to fit the palate of your country?

This recipe one of the Americanized styles of Kung Pao.

Photo Dec 11, 5 58 33 PM

A good tasting dish.

Photo Dec 11, 5 11 25 PM

Laying out the ingredients.

Photo Dec 11, 5 34 09 PM

Cubed chicken.

Photo Dec 11, 5 39 10 PM

Starting the sauce.

Photo Dec 11, 5 51 15 PM

Adding the veggies.

Photo Dec 11, 5 54 20 PM

Frying up the chicken.

Photo Dec 11, 5 55 20 PM

With the sauce.

Photo Dec 11, 5 58 27 PM


Kung Pao Chicken

Prep Time: 30 Min | Cook Time: 30 Min | Makes: 4 servings


  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into chunks
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 ounce hot chile paste
  • 2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts
  • 4 ounces chopped peanuts
  • 2 celery stalks


To Make Marinade: Combine 1 tablespoon wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water mixture and mix together. Place chicken pieces in a glass dish or bowl and add marinade. Toss to coat. Cover dish and place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

To Make Sauce: In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoon wine, 2 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 tablespoon oil, 2 tablespoon cornstarch/water mixture, chili paste, vinegar and sugar. Mix together and add green onion, garlic, water chestnuts and peanuts. In a medium skillet, heat sauce slowly until aromatic.

Meanwhile, remove chicken from marinade and saute in a large skillet until meat is white and juices run clear. When sauce is aromatic, add sauteed chicken to it and let simmer together until sauce thickens.

Nutritional Info:

Amount Per Serving Calories: 437 | Total Fat: 23.3g | Cholesterol: 66mg Powered by ESHA Nutrient Database


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Chicken, Chinese, Fried, kosher, Low Carb, Lunch2, Main Dish 2, Recipes, vegetable3, Wine

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at

5 Comments on “Americanized Kung Pao”

  1. November 3, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    many Asian restaurants have the “original” dishes available if you ask for it.


    • November 3, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

      That’s good to know – thank you !


  2. November 3, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    It is NOT like this now, but about 40 years ago in Quebec pizza was served in restaurants with hot dogs on it. And I know people in Quebec who enjoy spaghetti sauce served over French Fries – and it tastes really good. Of course, pizza & spaghetti sauce didn’t originate in the States…. but it does show how different countries “make a food their own”!
    Your recipe looks wonderful. I want to make it ’cause I find the Kung Pao served in restaurants pretty flavorless. Pinning it on to my “Chinese” section !!


  3. November 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

    I’ve seen specials on television about American food in other countries and how they are modified, fast food places common in the states such as Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s, etc have their own asian/european influence on the foods. Sometimes this can even be found in the United States, Fry Sauce is something that is common in certain states (A mixture of ketchup and mayo) whereas other’s wouldn’t imagine such a thing. There are always variations in other places, Great Blog!


  4. November 3, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    Hi ranting chef – what would you call typical American food?

    The thing is that I as a non US native would call typical American food is celebrated as is abroad, that is to say that the US isn’t primarily considered a go-to place for food, by Europeans at least, unlike say France or Italy, this may not be fair, it’s maybe not just, but I think it’s true. That said, anyone who has been over comes back with a love of Cheese Cake, Trader Joe, and pumpkin pie. But we like them the way they are! Overall If you asked most Europeans what constitutes US food they would probably say: – hot dogs, and relish, muffins, Oreos, coke, hamburgers of course, ketchup, BBQ enormous steaks, and french fries (not strictly true but oh well) and donuts ( not strictly true either but hey!) McDonalds delivers on them they taste the same anywhere. Oh and a personal favourite: A Cinnabon. As far as I experienced unlike Italian, Chinese, other Asian, Middleeastern or most any other cuisines, US food is a melting pot made up of whatever immigrants brought over, and you still have strong immigrant influences on the cuisines of certain states (Michigan for example, or Chicago) of course in California you have great fusion food, and in Texas Tex- Mex and grills, in New England Lobster and Cornbread and softshell clams, etc, but much of what else is around seems to have been brought in from elsewhere and homogenized. I have the Gourmet cookbook and case in point I would say that a good 80 % of recipes are fusion cooking foods.

    Also unlike Szechuan cuisine where it’s hard to find the ingredients (ever tried finding heaven facing chilies?) or Indian cuisine where depending on where you are the ingredients might be hard to come by, or Italian food, for which the ingredients can be prohibitively expensive in the US, I used to buy eggplants, while cringing at the price, and the lady at the till, picked one up and said ” Hm, what is this?” – what we Europeans consider US food (steaks and hamburgersI are quite easily recreated, and accessible to Westernised palates, so for Europe I cannot say I have ever seen an adaptation of American food, rather a celebration of the loved by all cheesecake in all its guises. In general other than McDonalds and Burger King I don’t think I have ever really seen an American restaurant, with the exception of places advertising themselves as American sports bars. So that for what it is worth is my observation. Have you been abroad and seen American food adapted to local tastes?

    Curious to know 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: