Invasive Species Cook Book - Kung Pao Pheasant

Chinese New Year is a perfect time to add another recipe to the Invasive Species Cook Book!

Pheasants are birds of several genera within the subfamily Phasianinae. Pheasants native range is restricted to Asia and may of our well known Chinese takeaway favourites may have originally used pheasant instead of chicken.

The most widely accepted theory of how pheasants were first introduced to the UK is that they were imported to by Roman officers who bred them for the table. The birds would have been brought first to southern Europe from Asia.

In the UK Up to 50 million pheasants and other game birds are released each year ahead of the game shooting season which has prompted calls to study its impacts on native wildlife. Released pheasants compete with native species for food and habitat as well as impacting plants and invertebrates as well as other species.

This Chinese new year why not try pheasant and help the environment at the same time!

Kung Pao Pheasant 



  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar

  • 1 tbsp potato starch or 1 1/2 tbsp cornflower

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil

  • 60ml chicken stock


  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 2 tsp light soy sauce

  • 1 t tsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry

  • 2 tsp potato starch or 2 1/2 tsp cornflower

  • 1 tsp water


  • Skinless breasts from 2 pheasants

  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced thin

  • 2 tbsp of ginger, peeled and grated (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 5-6 spring onions, chopped

  • 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns

  • 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 100g roasted, unsalted peanuts


  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade in a medium bowl.

  2. Cut the pheasant breasts into small bite size pieces and mix in with the marinade. Set aside for 20-30 minutes, preferably longer or overnight.

  3. Chop the garlic cloves, grate the ginger and cut the spring onions into 1/2-inch pieces

  4. Dry fry the peanuts for 2-3 minutes, moving them to avoid burning.

  5. Whisk all the ingredients for the sauce together and set aside.

  6. Add the vegetable oil to a hot wok or deep pan and add the Sichuan peppercorns and stir-fry 30 seconds.

  7. Add the pheasant and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger and green onions and stir fry another minute.

  8. Once the pheasant is cooked, add the sauce to the wok or pan. Add the peanuts and toss to combine. Bring to a rapid boil and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.

We’ve served ours with egg fried rice and a cold beer!


Stewart Parsons