One-Pot Wonders

Gong Bao Ji Ding (Gong Bao Chicken)

May 23, 2021
30 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 3 to 4
Author Notes

A perfect gong bao ji ding has different components: the tenderness of the chicken, the right amount of peanuts, the savory thick sauce that spoons off with the meat, the flavor that holds the perfect balance of salty, slightly sour, with a kick of numbing spiciness and the aroma of garlic and ginger. I prefer using chicken thighs, for more flavors, though chicken breast is almost just as good. —FrancesRen

Test Kitchen Notes

Tender morsels of chicken eagerly soak up FrancesRenHuang's fragrant, velvety sauce in what is a remarkably quick and forgiving recipe. If you can't find Sichuan peppercorns, don't sweat it (you'll just miss out on their mysteriously addictive numbing quality). Use any small, dried red chiles that suit you. And customize at will, by adding sliced mushrooms, water chestnuts, or diced celery to the stir-fry. Lastly, to those with healthy appetites: Double this recipe! Your guests will praise you. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • To tenderize the meat:
  • 2 chicken thighs, deboned and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (if yours are tiny, you may want to throw in 1-2 more)
  • 1/2 teaspoon beaten egg
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine
  • To stir-fry:
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese dark vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons water or stock
  • 1 handful of peanuts (generous amount)
  • 2 green onions, chopped into 1-inch lengths
  • 4 garlic cloves, skin removed, smashed and chopped
  • 6 slices of ginger
  • 8 red dried chiles, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  1. Mix together the marinade with the meat; set aside while preparing the rest. *You can store this in the fridge for the day.)
  2. Mix the liquid ingredients, brown sugar and corn starch and set aside to use as the sauce for stir-frying. Heat up wok with vegetable oil until shimmering and hot, about 120° C.
  3. Dip half of the meat into the oil and move around until half-cooked, around 2 minutes; remove with slotted spoon and drain from oil. Repeat for the other half.
  4. Drain off all but 2 tbsp of oil in heated wok, throw in chiles, peppercorns, garlic, ginger and spring onion; stir-fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes; add peanuts and stir-fry for another 1-2 min.
  5. Add chicken cubes, stir-fry for about 3 minutes, or until chicken is cooked.
  6. Pour on reserved sauce and simmer until the dish thickens, about 3 minutes.
  7. Garnish with ground Sichuan peppercorn; serve with rice.
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125 Reviews

Milkman123 September 25, 2022
Pizza (Italian: [ˈpittsa], Neapolitan: [ˈpittsə]) is a dish of Italian origin consisting of a usually round, flat base of leavened wheat-based dough topped with tomatoes, cheese, and often various other ingredients (such as various types of sausage, anchovies, mushrooms, onions, olives, vegetables, meat, ham, etc.), which is then baked at a high temperature, traditionally in a wood-fired oven.[1] A small pizza is sometimes called a pizzetta. A person who makes pizza is known as a pizzaiolo.

In Italy, pizza served in a restaurant is presented unsliced, and is eaten with the use of a knife and fork.[2][3] In casual settings, however, it is cut into wedges to be eaten while held in the hand.

The term pizza was first recorded in the 10th century in a Latin manuscript from the Southern Italian town of Gaeta in Lazio, on the border with Campania.[4] Modern pizza was invented in Naples, and the dish and its variants have since become popular in many countries.[5] It has become one of the most popular foods in the world and a common fast food item in Europe, North America and Australasia; available at pizzerias (restaurants specializing in pizza), restaurants offering Mediterranean cuisine, via pizza delivery, and as street food.[5] Various food companies sell ready-baked pizzas, which may be frozen, in grocery stores, to be reheated in a home oven.

In 2017, the world pizza market was US$128 billion, and in the US it was $44 billion spread over 76,000 pizzerias.[6] Overall, 13% of the U.S. population aged 2 years and over consumed pizza on any given day.[7]

The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (lit. True Neapolitan Pizza Association) is a non-profit organization founded in 1984 with headquarters in Naples that aims to promote traditional Neapolitan pizza.[8] In 2009, upon Italy's request, Neapolitan pizza was registered with the European Union as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed dish,[9][10] and in 2017 the art of its making was included on UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage.[11]

Raffaele Esposito is often considered to be the father of modern pizza.[12][13][14][15]

1 Etymology
2 History
3 Preparation
3.1 Baking
3.2 Crust
3.3 Cheese
4 Varieties and styles
4.1 Varieties
4.2 Styles
4.3 By region of origin
4.3.1 Italy
4.3.2 United States
4.3.3 Argentina
5 Records
6 Pizza and health
7 Similar dishes
8 Gallery
9 See also
10 References
11 Further reading
12 External links

Home-made Neapolitan-style pizza with cheese and toppings
The word "pizza" first appeared in a Latin text from the town of Gaeta, then still part of the Byzantine Empire, in 997 AD; the text states that a tenant of certain property is to give the bishop of Gaeta duodecim pizze ("twelve pizzas") every Christmas Day, and another twelve every Easter Sunday.[4][16]

Suggested etymologies include:

Byzantine Greek and Late Latin pitta > pizza, cf. Modern Greek pitta bread and the Apulia and Calabrian (then Byzantine Italy) pitta,[17] a round flat bread baked in the oven at high temperature sometimes with toppings. The word pitta can in turn be traced to either Ancient Greek πικτή (pikte), "fermented pastry", which in Latin became "picta", or Ancient Greek πίσσα (pissa, Attic πίττα, pitta), "pitch",[18][19] or πήτεα (pḗtea), "bran" (πητίτης pētítēs, "bran bread").[20]
The Etymological Dictionary of the Italian Language explains it as coming from dialectal pinza "clamp", as in modern Italian pinze "pliers, pincers, tongs, forceps". Their origin is from Latin pinsere "to pound, stamp".[21]
The Lombardic word bizzo or pizzo meaning "mouthful" (related to the English words "bit" and "bite"), which was brought to Italy in the middle of the 6th century AD by the invading Lombards.[4][22] The shift b>p could be explained by the High German consonant shift, and it has been noted in this connection that in German the word Imbiss means "snack".
Main article: History of pizza

A pizzaiolo in 1830
Foods similar to pizza have been made since the Neolithic Age.[23] Records of people adding other ingredients to bread to make it more flavorful can be found throughout ancient history. In the 6th century BC, the Persian soldiers of the Achaemenid Empire during the rule of Darius the Great baked flatbreads with cheese and dates on top of their battle shields[24][25] and the ancient Greeks supplemented their bread with oils, herbs, and cheese.[26][27] An early reference to a pizza-like food occurs in the Aeneid, when Celaeno, queen of the Harpies, foretells that the Trojans would not find peace until they are forced by hunger to eat their tables (Book III). In Book VII, Aeneas and his men are served a meal that includes round cakes (like pita bread) topped with cooked vegetables. When they eat the bread, they realize that these are the "tables" prophesied by Celaeno.[28] The first mention of the word "pizza" comes from a notarial document written in Latin and dating to May 997 AD from Gaeta, demanding a payment of "twelve pizzas, a pork shoulder, and a pork kidney on Christmas Day, and 12 pizzas and a couple of chickens on Easter Day."[29]

Modern pizza evolved from similar flatbread dishes in Naples, Italy, in the 18th or early 19th century.[30] Before that time, flatbread was often topped with ingredients such as garlic, salt, lard, and cheese. It is uncertain when tomatoes were first added and there are many conflicting claims.[30] Until about 1830, pizza was sold from open-air stands and out of pizza bakeries.

A popular contemporary legend holds that the archetypal pizza, pizza Margherita, was invented in 1889, when the Royal Palace of Capodimonte commissioned the Neapolitan pizzaiolo (pizza maker) Raffaele Esposito to create a pizza in honor of the visiting Queen Margherita. Of the three different pizzas he created, the Queen strongly preferred a pizza swathed in the colors of the Italian flag — red (tomato), green (basil), and white (mozzarella). Supposedly, this kind of pizza was then named after the Queen,[31] although later research cast doubt on this legend.[32] An official letter of recognition from the Queen's "head of service" remains on display in Esposito's shop, now called the Pizzeria Brandi.[33]

Pizza was taken to the United States by Italian immigrants in the late nineteenth century[34] and first appeared in areas where they concentrated. The country's first pizzeria, Lombardi's, opened in New York City in 1905.[35] Following World War II, veterans returning from the Italian Campaign, who were introduced to Italy's native cuisine, proved a ready market for pizza in particular.[36]

Pizza is sold fresh or frozen, and whole or in portion-size slices. Methods have been developed to overcome challenges such as preventing the sauce from combining with the dough, and producing a crust that can be frozen and reheated without becoming rigid. There are frozen pizzas with raw ingredients and self-rising crusts.

Another form of pizza is available from take and bake pizzerias. This pizza is assembled in the store, then sold unbaked to customers to bake in their own ovens. Some grocery stores sell fresh dough along with sauce and basic ingredients, to assemble at home before baking in an oven.

Pizza preparation
Pizza dough being kneaded before being left undisturbed and allowed time to proof
Pizza dough being kneaded before being left undisturbed and allowed time to proof

Traditional pizza dough being tossed
Traditional pizza dough being tossed

Toppings being placed on pan pizzas
Toppings being placed on pan pizzas

An unbaked Neapolitan pizza on a metal peel, ready for the oven
An unbaked Neapolitan pizza on a metal peel, ready for the oven

A wrapped, mass-produced frozen pizza to be baked at home
A wrapped, mass-produced frozen pizza to be baked at home

In restaurants, pizza can be baked in an oven with fire bricks above the heat source, an electric deck oven, a conveyor belt oven, or, in traditional style in a wood or coal-fired brick oven. The pizza is slid into the oven on a long paddle, called a peel, and baked directly on hot bricks, a screen (a round metal grate, typically aluminum), or whatever the oven surface is. Before use, a peel is typically sprinkled with cornmeal to allow the pizza to easily slide on and off it.[37] When made at home, a pizza can be baked on a pizza stone in a regular oven to reproduce some of the heating effect of a brick oven. Cooking directly on a metal surface results in too rapid heat transfer to the crust, burning it.[38] Some home chefs use a wood-fired pizza oven, usually installed outdoors. As in restaurants, these are often dome-shaped, as pizza ovens have been for centuries,[39] in order to achieve even heat distribution. Another variation is grilled pizza, in which the pizza is baked directly on a barbecue grill. Greek pizza, like deep dish Chicago and Sicilian style pizza, is baked in a pan rather than directly on the bricks of the pizza oven.

Most restaurants use standard and purpose-built pizza preparation tables to assemble their pizzas. Mass production of pizza by chains can be completely automated.

Pizza baking
kohan R. November 7, 2021
that was perfect
I'm going to try it
arun October 12, 2021
very good
pinki October 13, 2021
pinki October 13, 2021
pinki October 13, 2021
pinki October 13, 2021
pinki October 13, 2021
arun October 12, 2021
arun October 12, 2021
Deborah B. May 17, 2021
Why would I make this? I don’t know what “Chinese cooking wine” is, what “Chinese dark vinegar” is and whether the peanuts are raw, roasted, salted.........Not to mention, for those of us living outside Manhattan these are not necessarily easy ingredients to find. (I shouldn’t have to plan my menus around Amazon’s delivery schedule!). Let’s do some better editing, better ingredient descriptions, fewer exotic materials, and a better substitution list.
Franca May 18, 2021
Nobody is asking you to make anything. You could simply try another recipe.
Wendy May 20, 2021
Maybe American food would be less frightening to you.
teehee999 June 1, 2021
I think your better off cooking some Kraft mac n cheese...I'm sure you can find that.
TroMaClo June 6, 2021
Never thought someone could feel attacked by a recipe but you sure appear to be. Imagine thinking you can only find Chinese ingredients in Manhattan lol.
sinclairish October 19, 2021
I can understand some of the confusion, but google is a great resource. But I think it's important to remember that different parts of the world and different cultures utilize different ingredients. This is a long-standing dish in the Sichuan province, so the modifications you may need to make for where you live would be the "exotic" here. It's also important to recognize that, while Food52 uses English as the primary language, not everyone here is American/Canadian/Western.
AnyaTika November 27, 2022
Oh, Deborah.
eatchimac March 30, 2021
Oh, I didn’t try Gong Bao Ji Ding Recipe. Now I can make it at home. So glad for sharing this recipe Now I can make it at home. It looks delicious. Now I can share your blog with my friend circle. I am so glad after seeing your recipe, Thanks for sharing this recipe. Food is one of the biggest topics of conversation online and offline. Keep it up, I am waiting for your next recipe!
Alyssa G. February 9, 2021
Honestly, haven't made this recipe yet (but I have all the ingredients and have used combinations like this before and it's hard to go wrong). Any tips for making this with whole skin-on bone-in thighs? Bought them on a whim and wanted to do something with them involving all the flavors that happen to be in this recipe and just want to make sure that the marinade won't make the skin soggy. My partner and I have cooked amazing skin-on chicken over a campfire, so I'm sure I can figure this out, but second opinions always welcome.
FrancesRen February 9, 2021
Hi Alyssa. I would recommend to skip the marination ingredients and do the braising way. With some oil in the pan, pan-fry the skin-on bone-in thighs until they are nicely browned on all sides; remove the chicken thighs. Keep about 2tbsp oil hot in the pan and stir-fry the garlic, ginger, green onion, dried chilis, peppercorns until fragrant then pour in the soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and water/stock; add the chicken thighs back in. Cover. Cook small fire for 15-20 min or until the chicken is tender. Check and taste and adjust the soy sauce, sugar and vinegar. Mix cornstarch with a bit of water until it is dissolved and pour it for a bit of gravy consistency. Add in the chopped peanuts before serving. Hope that helps.
Alyssa G. February 10, 2021
Thank you! We'll definitely make this again. The stovetop+cover option is the way to go, and I'll explain why: I salt brined the chicken for about 8 hours to tenderize the muscle and then browned the chicken on the flesh side using a cast-iron with the plan to finish it in the oven. I then removed the chicken temporarily to sauté the garlic and friends, then added the chicken back (this time on the skin side) and then the sauce. Everything looked beautiful, but I wanted to be sure the chicken was brought to the safe internal temp, so I popped the whole cast iron, chicken, and sauce into the oven. The chicken turned out perfect, but as would happen in an open-top environment: the sauce was almost candied. I'll definitely take the stovetop+cover route, and the water+cornstarch route next time. We loved the flavors, but only had some dried chilis from the local Hispanic store, so it wasn't spicy enough for us, but this was certainly in the direction we crave and I can't wait to try it again. <3
Danielle B. February 26, 2019
Struggled with this one. Rated the most epic fail by my family in 25 years! Doubled the recipe (2 thighs w teenage boys!?). The peppercorns were WAY too overpowering. Literally made our mouths go uncomfortably numb with each bite. This recipe has so much promise - beautiful texture and good flavour potential - but something is seriously off with the peppercorns. Maybe 1/2 tsp ground for a double batch would be better? Crazy bad the way it was. Threw it out and ate leftovers instead.
Jeff A. February 26, 2021
Of course it's hot as it is supposed to be. If you don't like hot food, why make a Sichuan dish? Your fault, not the recipe's.
Jane November 11, 2018
Made this and wasn’t thrilled with the results - maybe suggest crushing the peppercorns and doing 2tsps instead of 4. It was a lot for just two chicken thighs, and every time you bite into a peppercorn it’s this blast of floral flavor and your palate goes numb. Would also recommend crushing the peanuts.
Paige September 22, 2018
So good but HOT.
AK June 4, 2018
This is fantastic and would probably have been even better if I could have followed the recipe exactly. My mods: doubled the recipe; subbed gin for Chinese cooking wine; subbed balsamic vinegar for the Chinese dark vinegar. (Not by choice; couldn’t open the bottle!) I look forward to adding this to my regular rotation. Served with brown rice, cucumber salad, and stir-fried bok choy and red bell pepper. Steamed broccoli would probably work well.
FrancesRen June 4, 2018
Gin! Nice! Vodka will be good as well, maybe whiskey :) Yes the chinese dark vinegar is key. Steamed broccoli would work excellent!
Christine June 3, 2018
Hi! We are just sitting down to make this but 2 chicken thighs feels like it would be for just one person, is that correct? Feeling confused by the measurements!!
FrancesRen June 3, 2018
If it is the only meal you will be eating, it might be a little bit less. It is good to eat with other dishes. You can try it and tell me? 3 chicken thighs you will definitely be full for two people!
Kathy R. June 3, 2018
Frances, I can’t wait to try this but I’m new to cooking Chinese. What kind of wine did you use in the marinade?
ZQ June 3, 2018
This sounds wonderful. I grew up with Chinese cooking, but had always been taught to use just the egg white, not the whole egg, to keep the flavor clean and make a slightly crisp coating when cooked. What does the egg yolk do? Also, by dark Chinese vinegar do you mean red vinegar (as used with bird’s nest soup or xiao long) or black vinegar (which I tend to use in braising because it seems sweeter)? Thanks. I look forward to trying this recipe soon!
FrancesRen June 3, 2018
Yes! Egg white for all Chinese dishes including this one, but in Beijing homes we have tried it with egg yolk and egg white together (a bit of laziness) and it works as well- just to save trying to use egg yolk for another day. Egg white does have more protein to bind and make the meat more silky, and it is used in Chinese professional kitchens. Try whatever works for you! Vinegar is the dark black vinegar called 陳醋, used in Sichuan cooking as well as Northern Chinese cooking.
Merry June 3, 2018
I used 4 chicken thighs. Very spicy, which we liked, but I think I would still tone it down next time and use a bit less oil.
FrancesRen June 3, 2018
Yah! happy you enjoy it! Yes you can try putting less oil and see how it works for you!
carol June 3, 2018
This recipe sounds wonderful however I'm not a fan of chicken thighs. Could I substitute cubed chicken breasts.
FrancesRen June 3, 2018
Yes! Tofu and tempeh as well!
Michael L. May 29, 2018
To tenderize the meat, it indicates 1/2 teaspoon of a beaten egg. It this correct? 1/2 teaspoon does not seem like enough? Can you verify the accuracy of the measurements in this recipe? thanks
FrancesRen May 30, 2018
Hi Michael! 1/2 tsp of beaten egg, or just enough to coat thinly the meats you have cubed up. You want it to create a coating with the cornstarch to keep the meat moist when it is being stir-fried. It won't hurt if you feel like it needs a bit more than that, as long as it doesn't turn into an egg dish! :D
Michael L. May 30, 2018
Wow! Ok... it just seems like it would barely coat one piece of the thigh! I suppose its used for binding. Just coat and throw it in the fire, no need to let it marinate first? Thanks Frances!
FrancesRen May 30, 2018
I like how you said throw it in the fire! If you are in a hurry you can very well just coat and then start your cooking process, but we like to at least let the meat sit 10min on the counter while prepping all the other ingredients, or you can prep everything and just put it in the fridge for half a day as well. Hope that helps!!
Lauren L. March 30, 2018
Everyone raved about the recipe and I was so excited to make it, but something, sadly, went terribly wrong! It was inpallatable, I think I should have ground the peppercorns, or maybe got the wrong type of Sichuan peppercorns? However, there was no specific instruction on this.
Lauren L. March 24, 2018
Is it possible to make this in a saucepan, not a wok?
Lauren L. March 30, 2018
Awesome, thank you!