Kung Pao Chicken Tacos


What is it with Chinese food and water chestnuts? I can't stand water chestnuts and they seem to be in EVERY Chinese food dish that I order. It's not like many Chinese food places offer descriptions of what is included in each of their meals, so I typically have no idea until I bite down into one of those crunchy nasty things and find out they've inhabited my whole dish. :(

I guess when ordering take out I'm just going to have to start specifying that I don't want water chestnuts, regardless of whether I think they would be in the dish or not. Kung Pao wasn't a dish where I expected them, but there they were, nested among the celery pieces. Which is why I was so thrilled when I saw this recipe in Cooking Light and noticed they didn't include them!

Kung Pao Chicken Tacos
Source: Cooking Light, October 2012
Servings: 4
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    • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
    • 3 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
    • 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch, divided
    • 2 tbsp. canola oil
    • 1 1/2 tbsp. honey
    • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
    • 2 tsp. rice vinegar
    • 1 tsp. sambal oelek (Lee Kum Kee chile paste)
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 3 tbsp. roasted peanuts, chopped
    • 3/4 cup celery, diced
    • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
    • 8 corn tortillas
    • 1/3 cup green onions, sliced
    • lime wedges
1. Place chicken in a sealable bag with 1 tbsp. of the soy sauce. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Put 1/4 cup of the cornstarch in a shallow dish. Discard the marinade and dip the chicken into the cornstarch, shaking off the excess. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Heat a large skillet with canola oil over medium heat. Add the chicken (in batches if necessary) and saute 6-8 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
4. Transfer the chicken to a plate to keep warm. Add the celery, peanuts and red pepper to the skillet. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp.
5. Combine the remaining cornstarch, honey, sesame oil, vinegar, and sambal oelek together in a small bowl. Microwave in 10 second intervals until the mixture has thickened. Stir in the garlic and set aside.
6. Return the chicken to the skillet, pour the sauce over and toss together everything to coat.
7. Divide the mixture among the tortillas and top with sliced green onions. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze on top.

I'm not usually a fan of any type of breading on chicken, but this was incredible. I made the decision to cook the vegetables (knowing Tom wouldn't eat them otherwise) but honestly, I think it could go either way. There is just the perfect amount of heat in this as well. Definitely going to add this to the "make again" list.


  1. These sound and look really good! I love the idea of an Asian chicken in a taco shell.

  2. Wow, love your fusion-food idea! Chinese food + Mexican foods = Two of my favourite foods! I will definitely be saving this recipe for a meal sometime soon!


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