Kung Pao Shrimp Recipe

    Kung Pao Shrimp on a plate with rice

    This sweet and spicy kung pao shrimp recipe is a quick and easy meal you can whip up any day of the week. Made with ingredients like chili garlic sauce and cashews, you’ll love the bold flavors and varied texture in this recipe.

    Kung pao sauce, a mostly spicy yet slightly sweet sauce, is most famously used on chicken in Chinese take-out restaurants. The truth is, however, that this Chinese sauce can be used on almost anything, including vegetarian options like cubed eggplant or tofu.

    In this shrimp recipe, the kung pao sauce is whisked up in a bowl and combined with fresh shrimp, bell peppers, cashews, and some other ingredients in a large wok.

    The resulting kung pao shrimp is hot from the use of chili garlic sauce and dried chili peppers, and is a nice contrast to the sweet bell peppers in the recipe.

    Traditionally, a kung pao shrimp recipe like this is served with steamed, sticky rice, but you could also serve this with a side of veggies or noodles for an equally delicious alternative. If you wanted to make this recipe ahead of time, it’s best to prepare all your ingredients and the stir-fry sauce ahead of time, but wait to actually cook the shrimp and ingredients until you’re ready to serve it.


    Cook time: 10 minutes
    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Idle time:



    To prepare the sauce:
    1. Whisk the oyster sauce, chili garlic sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil in a small bowl to blend and set aside.
    For the stir-fry:
    1. Heat a large wok over medium-high heat. Add the oil. When the first wisp of white smoke comes off of the wok, add the chilies and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
    2. Add the onion and bell peppers and stir-fry until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until they begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes.
    3. Add the sauce and half of the cashews and stir-fry until the shrimp are just pink and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Try not to overcook the shrimp, as they can get tough and chewy. Sprinkle with the white pepper.
    4. Transfer the stir-fry to a platter. Sprinkle with the green onions and remaining cashews and serve immediately with steamed rice.

    Additional information

    Updated by Beeta Hashempour on 6/29/2018

    Jet Tila is a nationally renowned chef of all styles of Asian cuisine and host of Z Living's TV show Chasing The Yum. His passion for Asian food began at an early age. As a boy, he spent time learning the ancient traditions of classical Asian cuisine in family restaurants and at the Bangkok Market. At age 10, Jet realized his deep connection to food sprung from a deeper connection to his history; learning family traditions from his Cantonese grandmother further piqued his interest. In his early teens, Jet was making appetizers at his family’s restaurants. At 22, he was teaching cooking classes in his backyard a phenomenon that caught the attention of The Los Angeles Times. Chef Jet’s Le Cordon Bleu education, coupled with his extensive knowledge of Asian gastronomy, have given him a wide range of ideas to draw upon and a broad framework to craft incomparable and innovative cuisine. In culinary school, Jet began to develop his style by seeking novel and inventive ways to approach Eastern ingredients with classical French technique. He has also completed an intensive program of study at the California Sushi Academy. Chef Jet has written two cover pieces and several articles for the food section of The Los Angeles Times and has been featured in Los Angeles magazine. He has appeared on Food TV’s “The Best Of,” “Food Finds” and “The Secret Life Of”; The Learning Channel’s “No Reservations” with Chef Anthony Bourdain and “Take Home Chef”; HGTV’s “Smart Solutions” and “Weekend Entertaining”; PBS’s “Visiting With Huell Howser”; and is a frequent contributor to National Public Radio’s “Good Food” with Evan Kleiman. Chef Jet was awarded the Los Angeles Times best recipe of the year for his Tom Yum soup and his Tom Kha Gai soup was named one of the 10 best recipes of 2000. More recently, Jet was responsible for opening the Pacific Cafe at Google headquarters in Silicon Valley. He holds the Guinness World Record for the “World’s Largest Stirfry” at 1,805 pounds. Chef Jet is highly sought after to consult, teach cooking classes and cater meals; he is the Asian food consultant to the Bon Appetit management company.