Tag Archives: Kung Pao recipe

Kung Pao Sweet Potatoes to Usher In the Lunar New Year

Sweet potatoes get swapped in for chicken in this clever take on Kung Pao.
Sweet potatoes get swapped in for chicken in this clever take on Kung Pao.

Start the Year of the Dragon off with a bang with something fiery and inspired.

“Kung Pao Sweet Potatoes” certainly isn’t traditional fare for the Lunar New Year, which starts on Saturday. But the dish certainly makes for an exciting and enticing new addition to the celebratory feast. Plus, it’s perfect for vegetarians, vegans, and anyone who enjoys twists on the classics.

This fun recipe is from “Veg-Table” (Chronicle Books, 2023), of which I received a review copy. It’s the newest cookbook by Los Angeles-based Nik Sharma, a former molecular biologist turned James Beard Award-winning, best-selling cookbook author, photographer, and recipe developer.

He brings his scientific background, precision for recipes, and love of big, bold flavors to bear on this collection of vegetable-focused recipes. It’s not a strictly vegetarian cookbook, but even when animal proteins are included, they play a more supporting rather than starring role.

The cookbook features more than 50 types of vegetables with recipes organized by plant family, including such temptations as “Kimchi Creamed Corn,” “Crispy Salmon with Green Curry Spinach,” “Cauliflower Bolognese,” and “Carrot, Apple, and Harissa Soup.”

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Can We Say Kung Pao Cauliflower?

All the flavors of Kung Pao chicken in vegetarian form.

All the flavors of Kung Pao chicken in vegetarian form.


There are many theories as to why Jews flock to Chinese restaurants on Christmas Day.

Some say this affinity, which dates back to the early 19th century, started because Jews and Chinese immigrants shared the commonality of being outliers in a new land.

Others say it’s because these were the only establishments open on the holiday, as Chinese restaurants famously never shut their doors.

I think it’s because who wouldn’t want to celebrate with family and friends around a big round table laden with winter melon soup, steamed dumplings, roast duck, a heap of chow mein and the like?

Whatever the reason, Chinese food definitely deserves a place at the holiday table. “Kung Pao Cauliflower” makes it super easy to inject a little Asian spice, no matter what else you’re serving.

Staub Cookbook

The recipe is from the new “The Staub Cookbook: Modern Recipes for Classic Cast Iron” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. It was written with Nashville-based Amanda Frederickson, a former recipe developer for the Williams-Sonoma test kitchen.

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