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Kung Pao Beef is a Chinese dish that combines sliced steak, a sauce, vegetables and peanuts. Spiced with traditional Szechuan peppers and red chiles, this dish will make you forget about take out for good.

Kung Pao Beef Recipe

Course Dinner
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword Asian beef, beef, beef stir fry, spicy beef
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 594kcal
Author Victor


  • 1 lb beef short rib meat (flank steak or beef tenderloin, sliced into 1/4" thick strips)
  • 1 green bell pepper (cut into 1/2" x 1" pieces)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil (for stir-frying; peanut oil recommended)
  • 3 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
  • 1 inch ginger root (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 10 dried red finger-length hot chilies
  • 3 Tbsp roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 tsp finely ground Szechuan peppercorns (I like grinding in a mortar with a pestle)
  • 3 green onions (cut into small rounds)

For the marinade:

  • 1 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch

For the sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine (or sherry wine)
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch

For the Szechuan Peppercorn Oil and Hot Chili Oil:

  • 2 Tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 2 Tbsp dried red chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup oil (any oil will work, though my favorite is peanut oil)


  • To prepare Szechuan and hot chili oils, place two tablespoons of Szechuan peppercorns and two tablespoons dried red chili flakes into two separate small bowls. Heat the oil until it just starts to smoke. Pour half of the oil into each bowl. Let cool down, then strain into separate containers. The oils can be made several days in advance.
  • Place the sliced meat into a bowl. Add the rice wine and cornstarch, and marinate for 10 minutes.
  • Mix the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or skillet and stir-fry the marinated beef strips until they are nicely browned and almost cooked. Remove the meat and set aside.
  • Add another 1/2 tablespoon of the oil. Add the bell pepper and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, until slightly charred and softened up. Remove from the wok and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining oil, plus 1 tablespoon Szechuan Peppercorn Oil and 2 teaspoons Hot Chili Oil (see note) in the wok or a skillet. Add the sliced garlic and ginger, stir quickly for a few seconds, then add the dried red chilies. Stir-fry until you smell the spicy aroma of the dried chilies.
  • Return the beef and the bell pepper pieces to the wok or skillet and stir quickly with the spatula. Add the sauce and keep stirring until the beef is nicely coated with it. Sprinkle ground Szechuan peppers, stir in the roasted peanuts and the green onion.
  • Remove from the wok or skillet and serve immediately with steamed rice.


Add Hot Chili Oil as follows:
1-2 tsp for mild heat
3-4 tsp for medium heat
5+ tsp for high heat


Calories: 594kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 459mg | Potassium: 894mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2455IU | Vitamin C: 187.9mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 4.2mg