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dish with kung pao beef

Quick and Easy Kung Pao Beef

  • Author: Kelly
  • Total Time: 25 minutes


Kung Pao Beef - a spicy, flavorful Chinese takeout dish that makes a great weeknight dinner. With crispy stir-fried beef, roasted peanuts, crunchy veggies, and chili peppers in a spicy, tangy sauce. 


For the marinade:

·      1 ½ lbs flank steak, thinly sliced

·      2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

·      2 tablespoons cornstarch

·      ¼ teaspoon baking soda


For the Kung Pao Sauce:

·      1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

·      1 tablespoon cornstarch

·      1/3 cup rice vinegar *see note

·      4 tablespoons brown sugar

·      4 teaspoons sesame oil

·      ½ cup water or low sodium chicken broth

·      2 tablespoons hoisin sauce


For the stir fry:

·      3 tablespoons canola oil, divided

·      2 bell peppers, red or green, cut into bite sized pieces

·      2 celery ribs, sliced

·      1 bunch green onions, white and green parts separated, cut into 3/4" pieces

·      1 tablespoon garlic, minced

·      1 tablespoon ginger, minced

·      1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns, optional

·      6-10 dried red arbol chili peppers, whole or cut in half and deseeded (*see note)

·      ½ cup dry-roasted peanuts


Have everything ready before you start. Once you start cooking, this dish comes together fast!


1 - Marinate the beef

Combine the thinly sliced beef, cornstarch, soy sauce, and baking soda until the beef is evenly coated. Let marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.


2 - Mix the sauce

Whisk the soy sauce and cornstarch together in a small bowl until smooth. Then mix in the rest of the sauce ingredients.


3 - Stir fry the beef

In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil over high heat until almost smoking. The pan should be very hot to sear the beef and give it a crispy exterior without overcooking it. Working in batches so the pan is not overcrowded, add half of the beef to the pan and stir fry until slightly crispy on both sides, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and repeat with the second half of the beef.


4 - Stir fry the veggies

Heat ½ tablespoon of oil to the pan over high heat. Add the celery, red bell peppers, and white parts of the onion and stir fry until tender crisp, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan.


5 - Cook the aromatics, chilies, and the sauce

Heat the last ½ tablespoon in the pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, dried chilies, and Sichuan pepper, if using, and stir fry for 1 minute. Stir in the sauce and bring to a boil. It will begin to thicken almost immediately. Stir in the cooked beef, veggies, peanuts, and green onion and allow to heat through, about 1 minute.


·      Chinese black vinegar is traditionally used. I've used rice vinegar here. You can also use regular white or balsamic vinegar.

·      Using whole chili peppers will keep the sauce mildly spicy. For more heat, cut the chilies in half and deseed them or chop them into ¼ inch pieces

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Cuisine: Asian

Keywords: asian, chinese, stir fry, beef, dinner, under 30 minutes, easy, quick, vegetables