In the days before I was gluten free if I were to go out to eat my thoughts went to Mexican food or Chinese. Thankfully I still can eat Mexican food, just not everything but my days of stopping at Panda Express for a quick lunch are over. Most Chinese food has some form of gluten in it from a source most people would not expect, soy sauce. Thankfully though they make gluten free soy sauce so I can still have Chinese food, I just have to make it myself. For that reason, I am also thankful for the many recipes out there that let me have my favorites like, Kung Pao Chicken.

Kung Pao Chicken | My Hot Southern Mess

Skimming through my latest issue of Allrecipes Magazine I saw a recipe for Kung Pao Chicken and it was almost everything I wanted. I wanted a Kung Pao chicken that reminded me that of the one at Panda Express. When we lived in El Paso,Texas,  Panda Express opened maybe 10 minutes from our house and it was always an easy stop to make when my husband wanted me to bring him some lunch or on those days I wanted to pretend I was eating healthy. Yes, the Orange Chicken was good but Kung Pao Chicken had fewer calories and veggies, so that means it’s healthier, right?  It may have been fast food but in my mind, it was for that day.

Kung Pao Chicken | My Hot Southern Mess

Moving to North Carolina meant there was only one Panda Express by the mall 30 or so minutes away and the Chinese restaurants by our house made us sick. Then I went gluten free. I needed that recipe in Allrecipes Magazine to turn out. It said it had been saved 20,924 times so hopefully, it was good. I went to work without my usual checking of the website for reviews making tweaks here and there and I came out with a really great dish that was probably better than Panda Express. The best part was my family loved it too! So much that I had no leftovers and my husband was telling me I definitely need to make it again.

We love fake out take out in our house and with this recipe it is sure to become a favorite in your house too!

What is your favorite take out Chinese dish?

Kung Pao Chicken | My Hot Southern Mess

Kung Pao Chicken
  • Marinade:
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice or White Wine (Chicken broth can be used as a substitute)
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce (regular, low sodium or gluten free)
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 Pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast cut into 1 inch pieces
  • For Stir Fry:
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice or White Wine (or Chicken broth)
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce (favorite variety)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Sriracha Sauce (to desired hotness)
  • 2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons cooking oil (vegetable, canola, peanut)
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1 8ounce can water chestnuts (optional)
  1. For the Marinade:
  2. Stir together cornstarch, wine or broth, soy sauce, and oil in bowl. Add chicken, tossing to coat, Chill covered for 30 minutes.
  3. For Stir Fry:
  4. Stir together cornstarch and water in bowl. Stir in wine or broth, soy sauce, sriracha, brown sugar, ground ginger and vinegar.
  5. Heat oil in wok or large skillet.
  6. Add chicken and stir fry until outside is no longer pink. Add onions, garlic, peppers, zucchini and water chestnuts and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant and onions are starting to turn translucent. Stir Sriracha- Soy Sauce mixture and then stir into chicken and vegetables and bring to a boil. Continue cooking until Chicken is done and sauce has thickened. Stir in peanuts.

Recipe adapted from

*For my family of 6 I double this recipe*


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