Lunar New Year Firecracker Chicken

Lunar New Year Firecracker Chicken

Also known as “Kung Pao Chicken”, this is definitely one of the classic and most popular dishes served in Chinese restaurants.  The dried red peppers resemble miniature firecrackers which, in Chinese tradition, were used to scare away the evil spirits and bring in the New Year. 

Guest post by Martin Yan

Food photography by Stephen Klise and food styling by Elle Simone Scott

  • Yield:4 servings
  • Prep Time:30 minutes
  • Cook Time:8 minutes
  • Total Time:38 minutes



2 tsp. soy sauce 

1 tsp. dry sherry or rice wine 

1/4 tsp. salt 

1 tsp. cornstarch 

Seasoning sauce 

1 tbsp. soy sauce 

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar 

1 tsp. hoisin sauce 

1-1/2 tsp. sugar 


1/4 cup whole dried red chili peppers 

1/4 tsp. Sichuan peppercorn powder 

2 tbsp. cooking oil  

1 tbsp. dry sherry or rice wine 

2 green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths 

1/4 cup roasted shelled peanuts 

2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons water 


  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Add chicken; stir to coat. Set aside for 20 minutes. Combine seasoning sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. 

  2.  Heat a wok over low heat. Add dried red chilies and toast for 1 minute. Add Sichuan peppercorn powder; cook until fragrant. Add oil and cook until oil turns to a red color.  

  3.  Increase heat to medium-high; add chicken and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add dry sherry. Cook until chicken is done, about 3 - 4 minutes. 

  4. Add seasoning sauce, green onions and peanuts.  Add cornstarch solution; cook, stirring, until sauce thickens slightly.  

Tags: Chinese New Year Lunar New Year Martin Yan Spring Festival