Kungpao Meatballs

Photograph copyright  2023 Yudi Ela Echevarria

“Reprinted with permission from The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp: Spicy Recipes and Stories from Fly By Jing’s Kitchen by Jing Gao, copyright © 2023. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.”


  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • ½ cup grated onion
  • 1 cup torn soft white bread
  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons neutral oil for frying
  • ¾ cup Kungpao sauce
  • Sesame seeds for garnish
  • Chopped scallion (green parts) for garnish

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Kungpao Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp chicken stock or water
  • 2 tsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp black vinegar
  • 1⁄2 tsp cornstarch

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together until well-combined. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. When ready to use, make sure to mix well again before cooking.


  • Make the meatballs: In a large bowl, add the pork, onion, bread, egg, garlic, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Using your hands to really get in there, mix well to combine and ensure there is an even distribution.
  • To form the meatballs: Fill a small bowl with water—you’ll use this to wet your hands as you form the meatballs. Using wet hands, take a golf ball-size mixture and form meatballs. You should have about 12-14 meatballs.
  • In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining 1 Tsp neutral oil and then add the meatballs, followed by the Kungpao sauce. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, tossing the meatballs occasionally so they are evenly coated in the sauce.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat, place in serving vessel and garnish with the sesame seeds and scallions. Serve immediately.

Servings: 4

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