Do you know what it means when something is Kung Pao? I did not. So I looked it up, after making a joke about Kung Pao Chicken and then realizing I had no idea what Kung Pao Chicken was, or Kung Pao anything. To Kung Pao something is to stir fry to deep fry something, and then serve it with a spicy sauce….and sometimes peanuts.
I love Kung Pao! I had no idea how much so. The most classic thing to Kung Pao (acknowledging that Kung Pao may not be an accepted verb, but also that maybe it should be) is chicken. Kung Pao is a Sichuan-originated dish, and classically gets its heat from either Sichuan peppercorns or actual chili peppers, or in some cases a tongue-burning combo of the two.
And then of course the dish has been Westernized, with less heat, and other sources of heat besides the traditional Sichuan peppers, and the addition of orange juice and cornstarch and such. Anyway, in reading up a bit on it, I realized that we definitely need more Kung Pao in our lives, traditional or Westernized, and then I also started thinking about other things to Kung Pao. And happened to have some freaking huge Brussels sprouts.
Let it be said quickly that I will be making some version of Kung Pao chicken in the very near future, and that my children will look forward to that greatly (they did like these, but they will be more excited for the chicken version). But let it also be said (I sound like I should be standing on a wooden crate yelling, “Hear ye, hear ye!” instead of sitting in my underwear eating Brussels sprouts and typing furiously) that these were awesome. Do you see the serving yield? Do you see how it says 2 to 4? I think you can probably guess that I ate half of these, and that is my subtle way of acknowledging it.
I didn’t have the traditional chili peppers or Sichuan peppercorns (which I find a bit overpowering), so I reached for my trusty bottle of Gochujang sauce (a Korean hot sauce; it is also commonly available as a paste). Any hot sauce will do, Sriracha is great, and red pepper flakes will also work just fine.
Look at the size of these Brussels—insane, no? I cut them in half, since they would need to be cut before eating anyway. If you get more normal sized Brussels sprouts you can decide halved or whole, and if you get those cute tiny ones, just leave them intact. Start checking them after 20 minutes, or even earlier if you like your Brussels sprouts on the firmer side.
More Brussels Sprouts Recipes:
- Warm Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Mustard Vinaigrette
- Roasted Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts and Leeks with Spicy Drizzle
- Shredded Sauteed Brussels Sprouts
- White Bean and Roasted Cauliflower Spread with Sauteed Brussels Sprouts
- Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo and Toasted Bread Crumbs
- Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette
Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts halved if large
- 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 6 scallions chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon Gochujang or Sriracha sauce
- ¼ cup less sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- ¼ cup crushed peanuts to serve, approximately
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the Brussels sprouts on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, toss then spread out on the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 20 to 25 minutes until tender and the edges are browned.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat and add the garlic, scallions and ginger. Stir for 60 seconds until you can smell the garlic and ginger, then add the hot sauce, soy sauce, honey and vinegar and bring to a simmer.
- When the Brussels sprouts are cooked, pour the sauce over and stir to coat them. Transfer to a bowl and top with the crushed peanuts.
Made this recipe? Post a photo of your delicious creation on Instagram with our hashtag #dinnersolved