If you love eating Chinese or regularly enjoy takeouts, you might have heard of Kung Pao Chicken.
This spicy and tangy chicken that is made with chicken, Chinese sauces, and vegetables is as delicious as it looks.
This dish originated from the Sichuan province in South-West China.
The province is well-known for its Sichuan peppercorns.
Sichuan Peppercorns are distinctly used in the recipe of Kung Pao chicken.
This recipe also contains peanuts and chili peppers- both balancing each other well.
The traditional sauces really seep into the chicken and vegetables to impart their spicy, tangy taste.
You can never go wrong with Chinese cuisine, seeing as how many people tend to love it today.
If you wish to give Asian food a try- do try out the classic Kung Pao chicken recipe.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Kung Pao Chicken?
Kung Pao roughly translates to stir-fried.
In this case, the fine cubes of chicken get mixed with the beautiful sauces to impart a delicious color and flavors.
Stir-fries are actually really healthy, and people often make it multiple times a week.
Stir-fries are often accompanied by side dishes to make a proper meal and highlight the chicken’s flavors.
When you are making Kung Pao Chicken, you have the option of preparing side dishes that are exclusively Chinese.
This will make the meal more traditional and authentic.
However, a lot of dishes that aren’t from other cuisines also can make a good combination with Kung Pao Chicken.
What To Serve with Kung Pao Chicken? 7 Best Side Dishes.
Here is a compilation of 7 best side dishes you can serve alongside your Kung Pao Chicken.
1 – Shanghai Noodles
Commonly found in Chinese food markets, Shanghai noodles are famed far and wide.
Shanghai noodles are thicker than the usual noodles and are made from wheat flour and water.
These noodles are typically stir-fried with meat and vegetables in yummy sauces.
The noodles are blanched in boiling water before stir-frying.
Japanese Udon noodles can be a good substitute for these noodles if you are unable to make the noodles out from scratch.
Chinese Yellow Chives are another important ingredient in Shanghai noodles, along with red onions.
Give Shanghai noodles a fair chance at treating your taste buds with the classic Kung pao.
2 – Garlic Stir-Fried Broccoli
Broccolis are extremely tasty and yummy when they are cooked properly.
When flavored with garlic, they turn out to be amazingly aromatic and crunchy.
Just mince the garlic and saute until the aroma comes off.
Then toss in the broccoli florets and stir until they are cooked yet crunchy.
Add a few flakes of chili if you want it to be spicy.
This stir-fried broccoli dish is sure to be a good green companion to your Kung Pao chicken; just make sure you don’t overcook the Broccoli.
3 – Chinese Broccoli
Another type of Broccoli preparation, can be a hit with your Kung Pao chicken if given a fair chance.
Chinese Broccoli is quite different from the ones we are used to.
They are also called kai-lan or Chinese Kale sometimes.
Usually, gai-lan can be cooked in two ways: stir-fried and blanched.
The stir-fried version is cooked in garlic sauce, whereas the blanched version is made with oyster sauce.
It is totally up to you which version you wish to serve along with your Kung Pao.
4 – Crispy Sesame Tofu
Tofu is another much-loved food of the Chinese people.
They are also rich in protein and are completely vegan.
This crispy side dish can be an excellent addition to your Kung Pao meal.
Consider serving ketchup or some other dip for the Crispy Sesame Tofu.
If you wish to be more authentic, then marinate the tofu beforehand.
Typically you might leave it to marinate for about 30-40 minutes.
However, the flavors are even richer if you choose to marinate them overnight.
5 – Stir-Fried Bok-Choy
Who doesn’t love Bok-Choy? That’s right- it is almost impossible not to fall in love with it.
This stir-fry is an authentic Chinese side that has been served with main dishes for generations.
This leafy green has been a faithful side to a lot of meat dishes- including the Kung pao chicken.
One thing to know about the Chinese is that they love their noodles, meat, greens, and garlic.
Naturally, you can expect garlic to be there in some amounts in every dish.
Make sure you don’t add garlic in an overpowering amount.
Apart from that, some people also recommend separating the white portion of the bok-choy from the leafy part so that both can cook uniformly.
6 – Spring Rolls
Many people ensure that they get those delicious spring rolls whenever they get Chinese takeout.
Usually eaten as appetizers, they are delicious pockets of filling like vegetables or meat.
Spring rolls are widely popular worldwide, and they would make a great addition to your Kung Pao.
The wrapper is made of rice flour and water, then mat dried for use.
So if you choose to make spring rolls, try to be a little cautious when working with the wrapper since they are delicate to work with.
7 – Chinese Zucchini Salad
Zucchinis can be included in almost every kind of meal in China.
They can be eaten in stir-fries, salads, fritters, etc.
A beautifully prepared Zucchini salad would work well with your Kung Pao chicken.
All you need is garlic or garlic sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and dried chilies.
The fresh crunchy taste of zucchinis is best felt with a little tanginess and spiciness that comes from other factors.
Kung Pao chicken is perhaps one of the most famous Chinese dishes all over the world.
In the US, people love having Chinese takeouts every now and then.
The hot and spicy flavor of the Kung Pao chicken can be a challenge to people who are generally used to milder flavors.
However, side dishes can often help balance it out or shift the focus.
The sides mentioned above can make great compliments to Kung Pao.
So what are you waiting for? Get prepping.