Vegan Copycat Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken

Vegan Copycat Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken

This more aromatic, fresh-and-flavorful take on the classic Chinese take-out dish packs in the heat. 

Serves: 4

There’s more to Panda Express than its vegan orange chicken (RIP). Enter this veganized version of the Kung Pao chicken from the Vegan Fast Food cookbook.

What you need:

For the chicken: 
1 (1-pound) package vegan chicken, chopped
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine

For the sauce: 
¼ cup vegan chicken stock
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegan oyster sauce
1 tablespoon black vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the stir-fry:
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil 
1 medium-size zucchini, large diced
1 medium-size red bell pepper, large diced
3 green onions, sliced, plus more for topping
6 dried chiles (Tien Tsin peppers or chile de arbol)
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground sichuan pepper
⅓ cup lightly salted roasted peanuts
Cooked rice or noodles, for assembly
Sesame seeds, for topping

What you do:

  1. For the chicken, in a large bowl, add chicken, soy sauce, cornstarch, and wine, toss well and marinate for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. For the sauce, in a small bowl, combine stock, rice vinegar, wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce, black vinegar, and sugar. Set aside.
  3. For the stir-fry, in a wok over medium-high heat, warm oil. Once hot, add chicken, in batches if necessary, and stir-fry until lightly golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside. Add zucchini and bell pepper and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it begins to soften. Add green onions and dried chiles and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add ginger, garlic, sichuan pepper, and peanuts. Stir-fry for 1 minute making sure not to burn garlic. Add chicken back in.
  4. Quickly add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to stir-fry sauce and whisk. Add sauce to pan and stir-fry, ensuring sauce coats everything. Cook for 1 minute, add 1 more teaspoon of cornstarch to thicken sauce even more. Remove from heat.
  5. Over 4 serving dishes with rice or noodles, dish out stir-fry. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds and serve.
For more vegan copycat recipes, read:

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