Kung Pao Porter Chicken

Kung Pao Porter Chicken

Kung Pao Porter Chicken

We ALL have that food. The food that you hated as a kid, assuming that you hated all such foods, and then you grew up and realized that you didn’t hate it all all. You had just been force-fed some horrendous version of said food, and once you had a well-made version you realized the error of your ways. Or the error of your primary-caregiver-who-fed-you ways.

For me, it’s Chinese food. Growing up I only had that horrible stuff that pretended to be chow mein, sloshed out of a large tin can, encased in an unidentifiable gelatinous substance. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I envy you. This “meal” was always served with previously frozen egg rolls that were mostly filled with mushy cabbage. I know, sounds fabulous, right? I was convinced that I must just hate Chinese food. Until I realized that I actually love it, and crave it on a regular basis, I just hate crappy supermarket version of food that should never be served in a can.

I was 18, freshly living on my own (when “on my own” meant three roommates and a crappy apartment), and a friend brought it over in a white plastic bag, with those adorable take-out containers. What? Nope. No. I can’t. I just…but it smelled so good! Not like the roughage and slime I’d been previously served. I figured I’d try it, I could always apologize for gagging and offer up some dessert.

Kung Pao Porter Chicken

It was fantastic. And by that, I mean, fairly average Chinese take out that had spent zero time in a tin can. I was astonished and vowed to pretty much try anything offered to me from then on. Which probably led to my eating roasted ants in Bogota. Or maybe I just have questionable judgment and a penchant for danger. Either way, I’m all in when it comes to Chinese food and pretty much anything you can serve out of those little white take-out containers.


Kung Pao Porter Chicken

Kung Pao Porter Chicken

5 from 1 vote


For the chicken:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons porter beer
  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the sauce

  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup porter beer
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil (or sesame chili oil)
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger grater with a microplane

For the stir fry:

  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil (or sesame chili oil)
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried red chilies
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced (stem and seeds removed)
  • ¼ cup thickly sliced green onions
  • 2 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup shelled, roasted peanuts
  • rice for serving


  • 1. Whisk together the cornstarch, soy sauce, and beer in a small bowl.
    2. Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with salt, add to the marinade, toss to coat.
    3. Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.
    4. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the dried chilies, cooking until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the bell peppers, stirring frequently until softened. Stir in the garlic.
    5. Add the chicken and marinade, cooking for about 2 minutes.
    6. Pour in the sauce, reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in the peanuts.
    7. Add to a serving bowl, top with green onions. 
    8. serve over rice

2 thoughts on “Kung Pao Porter Chicken

  1. Ugh! I know exactly what you mean by gelatinous Chinese food in a can – we also ate it in my house. This recipe sounds so much better – can’t wait to try it.

  2. 5 stars
    This was amazing! I had to make a double batch, it came out a little soupier than intended, but the flavor was perfect. We will make this again.

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