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Kung Pao Chicken Wings

Russ Myers


When nothing but a hit of salty, spicy, tangy goodness will do, this should be your go-to recipe. You can find toban djan, annatto seeds, Szechuan peppercorns, and other ingredients at any well-stocked Asian market, or venture to an online source to fill out your pantry. A double fry may seem fussy, but the results—tender meat and a crunchy, sauce-soaked shell—make it oh-so-very worthwhile.

Reprinted from Fried & True by Lee Schrager with Adeena Sussman. Copyright (c) 2014 by Lee Schrager. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, LLC.

Photograph by Evan Sung.

★★★★★ 1 vote
8 to 10 Servings
15 Min
35 Min
Stove Top



1 1/2 Tbsp
annatto seeds
piece star anise
2 Tbsp
szechuan peppercorns
1 c
canola oil


13 oz
toban djan (fermented chili bean sauce)
1 c
bottled oyster sauce
2/3 c
shaoxing wine
2/3 c
rice vinegar
2/3 c
sweet chili sauce
3 Tbsp
toasted sesame oil


3 c
rice flour
canola oil, for frying
4 lb
chicken wings
chopped peanuts, chopped cilantro, and sliced scallion greens, for garnish


1Make the Szechuan oil:

Combine the annatto seeds, star anise, Szechuan peppercorns, and canola oil in a small saucepan. Gently bring the oil to a simmer, turn off the heat, and let the spices steep for 30 minutes.

Strain the oil through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, discarding any solids.
2Make the kung pao sauce:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the toban djan, oyster sauce, wine, vinegar, chili sauce, sesame oil, and the Szechuan oil.

3Fry the chicken:

In a large bowl, whisk together the rice flour and 2½ cups water to form a batter with the consistency of crepe batter, adding additional water by the tablespoonful if necessary.

Fill a large pot halfway with oil and heat to 275°F.

Working in batches, dredge the wings in the rice batter, shaking off the excess, and fry until lightly golden, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to a rack and cool for 15 minutes.
4Raise the oil temperature to 325°F and fry the wings in batches until golden brown and cooked through, an additional 6 to 7 minutes.

Drain the wings of any excess oil, then transfer to a large bowl and toss in the kung pao sauce.

Garnish with peanuts, cilantro, and scallions.

About this Recipe

Main Ingredient: Chicken
Regional Style: American