A Recipe for Kungpao Shrimp (or Kungpao Anything!) You Won’t Want to Miss

A recipe for sweet-and-spicy kungpao shrimp, excerpted from the cookbook The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp by Jing Gao  

Kungpao, a classic flavour profile in Sichuan cuisine, is characterized by a balance of spicy, savoury, sour and sweet tastes. The sauce is versatile and can be applied to many canvases, most famously on chicken. I’ve made everything from kungpao eel to venison to tofu, but the version I frequently make is shrimp, since it comes together quickly. Take caution when you fry the dried chilies. Depending on how hot your chilies are, the room and your lungs might fill with smoke, so try not to take any deep breaths and definitely turn on the exhaust fan and open the windows.

Kungpao Shrimp

Serves 4


Kungpao Sauce (makes 1/3 cup)

  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp chicken stock or water
  • 2 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp black vinegar
  • ½ tsp cornstarch


  • 2 Tbsp neutral oil
  • 5-6 pieces dried chilies, cut into 1-inch/ 2.5cm segments
  • 1 tsp whole Sichuan pepper
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 scallions, white parts only, cut into 1⁄2-inch/ 1.3cm segments 
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into ½-inch/1.3cm segments
  • 1 lb /450g shrimp, peeled, tails on
  • ½ cup/120ml Kungpao Sauce
  • ½ cup/70g roasted cashews or peanuts
  • Microgreens or edible flowers for garnish (optional)
  • White rice for serving



  1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together until well-combined. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. When ready to use, make sure to mix well again before cooking.


  1. In a wok or frying pan over high heat, add the oil and heat until smoking. Add the chilies and Sichuan pepper and fry quickly so they don’t burn, 10 to 20 seconds. Add the ginger, garlic and scallions and fry until fragrant. Add the celery and shrimp and flash-fry for about 3 minutes, until the shrimp start to turn pink.
  2. Pour in the sauce, stirring to make sure it coats all the ingredients evenly for 1 minute. The sauce will thicken as soon as it hits the heat, so move quickly here. Stir in the cashews at the very end before transferring to a serving platter.
  3. Garnish with the microgreens (if using) and serve immediately with rice.

The Book Of Sichuan Chili Crisp

Excerpted from The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp by Jing Gao. Copyright © 2023 Jing Gao. Photography by Yudi Ela Echevarria and Robert Nilsson. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Next: The Health Benefits of Spicy Food, Explained

Originally Published in Best Health Canada