My favourite take out….Kung Pao Chicken

My favourite take out turned paleo and all round a hell of a lot healthier! Spicy, lightly sweet, loaded with juicy organic chicken breast and cashew nuts…the kind of meal you don’t want to end!

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I professed my love for chicken last week…this time around I’m with spice, but of the Chinese sweet chili kind! Kung Pao Chicken was my favourite take out dish when I was kid growing up. It never had too much of kick…definitely not as much as my remake does! I love my chili these days!

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My brother and I used to share a portion and would fight over the cashews, my mum or dad having to evenly distribute them between our two plates. Same went for the chicken…any veg. they had decided on to add was of course left lingering in the tub with the overly thick and somewhat gloopy sauce…it’s amazing when you look back in hindsight!

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I decided to whip this up the other morning…having postponed it to make way for curry, and if I’m honest I wasn’t expecting much. Sometimes you just don’t. I cook ALL THE TIME so there are a fair number of times that I choose to cook something to satisfy a craving and my own curiosity as to whether or not it will work out the way my taste buds dream.

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Out of all the food I ate last week, sweet, savoury and everything in between, this was the dish that most surprised me. For dinner of a Monday evening, what a way to start the week! Moist perfectly cooked chicken is a must; you should be able to pull apart those chunks with two forks as if it were slow cooked pork.

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And those cashew nuts…plenty for everyone, no need to share! They truly make the dish…with a magnum for dessert it’s my childhood revisited!

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What’s your favourite take out meal? Do you or have you recreated it at home?

Kung Pao Chicken

by Michelle Hunt

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: saute entree gluten-free grain free low-carb paleo soy-free chicken cashew nuts chili coconut aminos


Ingredients (Serves 2 – 3)

    For the Sauce

    • 2 garlic cloves minced
    • 1 tsp melted coconut oil
    • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
    • 3 tbsp coconut aminos
    • 2 tsp raw honey
    • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
    • 1-2 tbsp chili paste depending on heat preference!
    • 1 tsp arrowroot powder + 2 tsp water whisked together

    The Rest!

    • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts diced (approx. 1lb)
    • 1 tsp melted coconut oil
    • 1 large red bell pepper finely sliced
    • 1 small onion finely sliced
    • 3 tbsp roasted unsalted cashew nuts (roast for 20 minutes at 180C, 350F, no oil!)
    • Cauliflower Rice to serve


    For the Sauce

    Saute garlic in coconut oil for 2-3 minutes.

    Whisk together all other sauce ingredients. Pour in to the pot, bring to the boil and simmer for 3-5 minutes until thick and glossy.

    For the Kung Pao Dish

    Saute chicken in a pan over a medium heat with melted coconut oil; brown on all sides, about 10 -12 minutes total. Remove from the pan.

    Saute pepper and onion in the same pan for 5-6 minutes. Return chicken to the pan, cook for 2 minutes with the peppers and onion, pour in sauce, add cashews and simmer for 2-3 minutes to heat through.

    Serve drizzled with sauce from the pan with a side of cauliflower rice if desired.

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    1. Awesome makeover Michelle! I used to love Chinese takeaway as a kid but would not touch it now. It is so full of MSG and sugar! The sauce you have made looks so delicious. Is coconut aminos similar to tamari?

      1. Yep it’s soy free and of course gluten free and paleo friendly. You could use tamari if you prefer. The taste is slightly different but along the same lines!

    2. This was SOOOO good! My boyfriend made this last night for our dinner and it was seriously one of the best paleo versions of Chinese food we’ve had. I’m looking forward to cooking more of your recipes. Your beautiful pictures make me want to make everything! Thanks for sharing 🙂