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kung pao beef

Kung Pao Beef Recipe

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  • Author: Michelle Minnaar
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stir Fry
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Have you ever tried kung pao beef at your local Chinese restaurant? Well, the homemade kind is even better!



Marinated Beef Strips

  • 6 Ounces beef steak (flank steak), thinly sliced
  • 1 Teaspoon cornstarch (or tapioca starch)
  • 1 Teaspoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 Teaspoon avocado oil
  • 1 Teaspoon oyster sauce

Kung Pao Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 Tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 2 Teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 2 Teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 Teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cornstarch (or tapioca starch)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1/4 Teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 Teaspoon sesame oil

Stir Fry Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
  • 2 dried red chilies, deseeded and chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 1/2 Teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup ready-made roasted peanuts

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  1. Marinate the Beef: Combine beef slices, cornstarch, Shaoxing wine, oil, oyster sauce, and baking soda in a bowl. Ensure beef is evenly coated. Marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.
  2. Prepare the Sauce: In a separate bowl, mix water, wine,  light soy, rice vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, hoisin, Sichuan peppercorn powder, dark soy, and sesame oil. Set aside.
  3. Cook the Beef: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok until smoking. Sear the beef for about 45 seconds per side or until slightly crispy. Remove the beef and set aside, keeping the oil in the wok.
  4. Stir-Fry Aromatics: Reduce heat to low. Add chili peppers, cooking until fragrant. Add bell pepper and white parts of the spring onions, cooking for another minute. Stir in garlic and ginger for 20 seconds.
  5. Combine and Cook: Return beef to the wok. Increase heat to high, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Stir the Kung Pao Sauce, then pour it over the wok’s contents. Mix well.
  6. Final Touches: Add the roasted peanuts and green scallion parts once the sauce thickens. Adjust the sauce’s thickness with water or stock until the recipe combines. Stir well, remove from heat, and serve with jasmine rice.


If ready-made roasted peanuts are unavailable, you can make them at home. Heat a pan over medium heat, and add raw shelled and skinned peanuts (without any oil). Stir frequently for about 5-10 minutes until golden brown and aromatic. Let them cool before using in the recipe.

For quick beef stir fries like this recipe, you can use top sirloin, tenderloin, flank, skirt, Denver, or ranch steak. 

For a vegetarian version, replace beef with tofu or tempeh. Press the tofu to remove excess water and cut it into cubes or strips.

Use tamari or gluten-free soy instead of regular, and ensure that all other sauces used are gluten-free.

The amount of dried red chilies can be adjusted according to your heat preference. For a milder dish, reduce the chilies or remove the seeds.