Kung Pao Pastrami or Corned Beef


Kung Pao Pastrami or Corned Beef is a savory and spicy stir-fry dish that blends the flavors of Chinese cuisine with a twist of Western deli flair. Slices of thick-cut pastrami or corned beef are tossed with crispy Yukon gold potatoes, fragrant Sichuan peppercorns, and a medley of aromatic spices and vegetables. The dish is brought to life with a zesty sauce made from Chinese chile paste, soy sauce, rice wine, and a hint of sweetness. Topped with crunchy peanuts and fresh scallions, this flavorful dish is perfect for sharing as a starter or enjoying as a satisfying main course.

Kung Pao Pastrami or Corned Beef


Kung Pao Pastrami or Corned Beef

Recipe Notes

  • Active Prep: 20 minutes
  • Grill Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 as a starter, or 2 as a main course
  • Method: Stir-frying
  • Equipment: Stove or grill side burner


  • 1 pound thick-sliced cooked corned beef or pastrami;
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese chile paste or sambal oelek
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (Shaoxing), sake, or Scotch whisky
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese hot bean paste (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 12 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (enough to make 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 3 to 6 dried Chinese chile peppers (Tianjin peppers), or to taste
  • A 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchstick slivers
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise (set aside 1 tablespoon of the green parts for garnish)
  • 4 ribs celery, cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 serrano or jalapeño chiles (or to taste), stemmed and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

You'll Also Need

  • A metal strainer; a wok; a wok spatula

Recipe Steps

1: Cut the pastrami or cooked corned beef slices crosswise into 1-inch pieces and set aside.

2: Make the sauce: Combine the chile paste, soy sauce, rice wine, bean paste (if using), and sugar in a small bowl and whisk to incorporate.

3: Place a metal strainer over a heatproof bowl and line a plate with paper towels. Heat the peanut oil in a wok over high heat or on a hot grill set up for direct grilling. Add the potatoes and fry, stirring with a wok spatula, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Pour the fried potatoes and oil into the strainer and drain for 2 minutes. Reserve the oil that has collected in the bowl and transfer the potatoes from the strainer to the prepared plate; blot any excess oil off the potatoes with a paper towel.

4: Return 3 tablespoons of the strained oil to the wok. Add the Sichuan peppercorns and dried chiles and stir-fry over high heat (or on the hot grill) until fragrant, 10 seconds. Add the ginger, garlic, scallions, celery, and fresh chiles and stir-fry until aromatic and beginning to brown, 30 seconds. Add the pastrami or corned beef, ¾ cup peanuts, and the potatoes to the wok and stir-fry until fragrant, 2 minutes.

5: Stir the sauce to reincorporate the ingredients and add it to the wok. Stir-fry until the sauce boils, thickens, and coats the other ingredients, 1 minute.

6: Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup peanuts and 1 tablespoon scallion greens on top and serve at once directly from the wok.

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