Kung Pao Shrimp 宫保虾球gōng bǎo xiā qiú


The emphasis on flavour makes Sichuanese food a robust and confident cuisine. The Sichuan cuisine boasts 24 different types of ‘complex flavours’复合味. The Kung Pao taste (the sweet-sour-scorched chili flavour) is obviously the most beautiful one. The two spices (Sichuan Peppercorns and Dried Chillies) are sizzled in oil until the chillies are darkening. Throw in a bit of sweet and sour. And you have Kung Bao Flavour, a truly marvellous taste.

Serves 3-4,

  • 500g                            shrimp, peeled and deveined (this calls for about 1000g fresh shrimp)
  • 1 teaspoon                  salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons           Chinese cooking wine料酒
  • 1 teaspoon                  corn flour玉米淀粉
  • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) cooking oil
  • 3 tablespoons               Sichuan peppercorns四川花椒
  • 1.5 tablespoons           garlic, minced蒜末
  • 1 tablespoon                ginger, minced姜末
  • 10g                               dried red chili, roughly chopped干红辣椒
  •  60g                              leek (only white part), cut into small sections. Try to get 2 small-size of leek if possible. If not, just use 1 big-size one. Slice them into small pieces of 1.5 cm in length. Split the big-size one then slice it into the same length. 大葱切宵 段(只用葱白)

 Seasoning Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon                 dark soy sauce老抽
  • 2.5 tablespoons           light soy sauce生抽
  • 1 tablespoon               Chinkiang vinegar镇江香醋
  • 2 teaspoons                caster sugar白糖
  • 1 tablespoon                 corn flour玉米淀粉

Coriander                       for garnish(optional)


  1. Peel and devein the shrimp. Pat dry with kitchen towel. Place them in a bowl.
  2. Marinate the shrimp with salt, cooking wine and corn flour for about 10 minutes.IMG_3340.JPG
  3. In a separate bowl, mix all the ingredients of seasoning sauce (dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, Chingkiang vinegar, caster sugar and corn flour.) Stir and mix well to make sure sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  4. Add 8 tablespoons of cooking oil in the work over high heat. When the oil is heated, add Szechuan peppercorns in the wok over LOW heat. Stir fry for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Skim and remove the cooked peppercorns if you feel them annoying when enjoying the food later. (Be sure of using low heat and be patient. Over-fried peppercorns bring a bitter taste.). Pour the oil in a bowl. Set aside.IMG_3384.JPG
  5. Now place 1/3 of the peppercorn oil in the wok, turn up the heat to medium heat, add garlic, ginger, leek and cook for about 2 minutes or until fragrant. Then add dried chili and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the seasoning sauce. Mix well quickly. Move all the sauce out in a bowl. Set aside.IMG_3385
  6. Add rest of the oil in a clean wok, turn up the heat over high heat. When the oil becomes very hot, add into the shrimp. Stir fry for about 20-30 seconds. (I would split the shrimp and fry two batches.) Mix the shrimp with the cooked seasoning sauce. This process should take about less than 1 minute. You will need to move fast to avoid the shrimp being overcooked.IMG_3386
  7. Transfer out on a plate and serve with rice.

1. Home kitchen stove does not produce heat as high as the commercial kitchen. So it is important to cook batches. I would split 500g shrimp and cook two batches.


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