Kung Pao king oyster mushroom is a must-try dish for those vegan spicy food lovers. Kung pao chicken is the most popular Szechuan dish outside China. In China, we get a large group of dishes using Kung Pao sauce, for example, Kung Pao tofu, Kung Pao fish, Kung Pao sweet potato, and Kung Pao Shrimp. Then I love to introduce this new version of Kung Pao mushrooms using king oyster mushrooms.

kung pao mushrooms|chinasichuanfood.com

King Oyster Mushroom

King oyster mushroom is a very interesting ingredient. If well cooked, it can present a very similar texture and even better flavor than meat. In Chinese, we get a lovely name to describe this feature “Chicken leg mushrooms”. Previously, I pan-fried them with spices. It gets lots of positive feedback.  Compared with meat, mushrooms are even easier to cook becomes no marinating process is needed. And I find it is the ideal ingredient for kung pao dishes. So I highly recommend beginners try this one, this is the ideal vegan kung pao choice.

kung pao mushrooms|chinasichuanfood.com

The Kung Pao Flavor

Kung Pao sauce is one of the popular home-style sauces in Szechuan cuisine. Kung pao sauce has two layers of flavor, one is from spices and the other one is from a balanced flavor bought by soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Firstly, we fry garlic, ginger, and scallion with dried red pepper. This taste is called “胡辣味”, which means fried chili pepper taste. To get this unique taste, the dried chili pepper should be fried until slightly darken red to bring the right flavor. 

The second layer is a balanced savory taste made from sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce with starch. Starch works as a thickener and helps the sauce stick to the ingredient. Before making any kong pao dishes, prepare the sauce in advance and let all the ingredients combine together. 

kung pao chicken|chinasichuanfood.com

🥘Ingredients breakdown

Here are some of the important ingredients which are essential to this authentic version of the kung pao dish:

  • King oyster mushroom- you can choose the larger ones or smaller Japanese ones. But the small Japanese one tastes much more tender.
  • Chinese large green onion (大葱) or large scallion is a thick, large scallion- It has a much larger white portion at the base. You may find they look similar to leeks but it is much more tender and juicy. You can use a scallion to replace it but remember only use the white part.
  • Sichuan peppercorns – this is the special ingredient in kung pao dishes, which yields both numbing sensation and spicy flavors to kung pao chicken.
  • Dried chili peppers – the red color and spicy taste of dried chili pepper are essential elements of kung pao dishes.
  • Crispy Peanuts – crispy peanuts give a crunchy texture to the kung pao chicken dish. The peanuts can be deep-fried or fried with salt. Or you can simply use store-bought crispy peanuts.
  • Garlic and ginger – garlic and ginger give kung pao dishes a strong and rich aroma.
  • Vinegar – I use black vinegar. You can mix with two types of vinegar or replace this with other vinegar on hand.
  • Light soy sauce– adding the unami flavor and a basic savory taste.
  • Dark soy sauce- darken the color of the kung pao dishes.
  • Sugar– for the sweet flavor
  • Salt and white pepper- as needed
  • cornstarch– to thicken the sauce so it can wrap on the ingredients


Prepare kung pao sauce by mixing all seasonings together in a small bowl. Cut chili pepper into sections, and prepare all other aromatics. 

kung pao chicken|chinasichuanfood.com

In a wok, add oil and fry half of the onion sections, dried chili pepper, ginger, garlic, and Sichuan peppercorn with slow fire until aromatic.

kung pao shrimp|chinasichuanfood.com

Add mushroom in. Fry for 3-5 minutes until the mushrooms become soft. At the first, the mushroom dice will absorb the flavor and oil quickly, slowing down your fire to avoid burning.

kung pao mushrooms|chinasichuanfood.com

Pour the mixed sauce.  Mix well and make sure all the cubes are well coated by the sauce.  Still, remember to re-stir the sauce before using it.

kung pao mushrooms|chinasichuanfood.com

Then add toasted peanuts and the left onion sections. We still want to keep the crispness of the peanuts.

kung pao mushrooms|chinasichuanfood.com

Give a big stir fry to mix everything together. Transfer out and serve hot. 

kung pao mushrooms|chinasichuanfood.com

What to serve with

All kung pao dishes are quite strong in flavor, so match them with plain staple food like steamed rice, steamed buns, or noodles. Besides, light soups like egg drop soup and lotus root soup can also be used to make a complete meal.

kung pao mushrooms|chinasichuanfood.com

Kung Pao Mushroom

Super delicious Kung Pao king oyster mushroom
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Sichuan cuisine
Keyword: Kung Pao, mushroom
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 404kcal
Author: Elaine


  • 2 king oyster mushrooms , or 4 smaller ones
  • 1/2 cup of toasted or fried skinless peanuts
  • 2 Chinese large onions , only white part, cut into small pieces around 1cm thick
  • 6-10 dried chili peppers , cut into sections
  • 2 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp. whole Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 inch ginger , cut into small cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves , cut into small cubes

Bowl Kong Pao Sauce


  • Prepare kung pao sauce by mixing all seasonings together in a small bowl. Cut chili pepper into sections, prepare other aromatics.
  • In a wok, add oil and fry half of onion sections, dried chili pepper, ginger, garlic and Sichuan peppercorn with slow fire until aromatic.
  • Add mushroom in. Fry for 3-5 minutes until the mushrooms becomes soft. Use slow fire to avoid burning at the frist 2 minutes.
  • Stir the Kong Pao sauce once again and pour in.  Mix well and make sure all the cubes are well coated by sauce.
  • Add toasted peanuts and the left onion sections.Give a big stir fry to mix everything together. Transfer out and serve hot.


Recipe firstly published in 2016and then updated with love in 2021.


Calories: 404kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1110mg | Potassium: 461mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 439IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 3mg
kung pao mushrooms|chinasichuanfood.com

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  1. I’m looking forward to try this recipe. It really looks easy and quick. We know these mushrooms, too and call them emperors hat.

    1. Susanne,

      I am quite amazed by the taste too. My husband is watching his weight. So possibly there will be more vegan or vegetarian recipes on this blog in the near future.

      1. A husbond watching his weight? Oh dear, you have my sympathy. That means trouble in menu planning. The recipes you post do not endanger weight. On the contrary. Either he consumes double/triple portions or he does sin otherwise. Good luck 🙂

        1. In fact I am quite satisfied with my menu planning. But he eats outside a lot, at least 2 meals on working days. So he is slightly overweight because of the long time working and lack of sport.

  2. I LOVE YOUR RECIPES. I collected all the ones I’ve made into a binder for easy retrieval (:
    I have a question about the peppercorns. How do you cook them so they are not bitter when you eat it? When I leave them whole, they are too spicy and I have to avoid eating them in the dish. My solution has been to grind them up beforehand, just wondering if you had a better method.

    Thank you so much and keep up the amazing work!

    1. Hi, Janny
      The situation you described really exists. I use whole Sichuan peppercorns directly in most cases, because this would be more easier to fry until aroma. Definitely you have to avoid eating them, but my husband love eating whole peppercorns very much, so I don’t pay attention to it. It will be tasteless when you use ground peppercorns. I suggest you removing the whole peppercorns after frying until aromatic.

  3. I am another fan of your blog Elaine, thank you so much. I have finally been able to get Sichuan peppercorns and am thrilled. I have both green and black. One is perfumey and the other spicy.

    I never knew how to use them. I have put them both together in a peppermill and grind over various dishes. I especially like them on my poached egg on toast. Yummy!
    Yours is the first recipe I’ve seen that mentions using the peppercorns whole. Others never specify. So should I assume most other recipes also mean to use them whole?

    Also which ones are you using? Green or Black?

    1. Hi Gwen,
      In most cases, I use dark red ones (possibly the black one referred by you). Using whole Sichuan peppercorn is very common in Sichuan cooking method. And whole Szechuan peppercorn brings different flavors from powder. Once tried, you will fall in love with it.

  4. I’m excited to try this because kung pao chicken is something I’ve missed as a vegan. What do you do with the tops of the mushrooms that you dont seem to use in this?

  5. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this fantastic recipe! I made it tonight and it was so incredibly delicious that I plan to make it tomorrow night too because I am craving it again!!