Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kung Pao Chicken

I've tried making kung pao chicken any number of times, but it never tasted right. This recipe, finally, is The One, and I will definitely be making it again. I added diced red peppers and used fresh Thai bird chiles instead of dried Sichuan, as that's what I had. p.s. - I find it funny that our little neighborhood convenience store carries black soy sauce and mushroom-flavored soy sauce, as well as about 10 kinds of French cheese, among other things, but they had no scallions. Kung Pao Chicken (from Land of Plenty) 2 boneless chicken breasts, about 2/3 lb in all 3 cloves of garlic AND an equivalent amount of fresh ginger 5-6 scallions 2 Tbs peanut oil 10+ dried red chiles, pref. Sichuan 1 tsp whole Sichuan pepper 2/3 c roasted unsalted peanuts Marinade: 1/2 tsp salt 2 tsp light soy sauce 1 tsp rice wine or med-dry sherry 2 1/4 tsp cornstarch 1 Tbs water Sauce: 3 tsp sugar 1 1/8 tsp cornstarch 1 tsp dark soy sauce 1 tsp light soy sauce 3 tsp Chinkiang or black Chinese vinegar 1 tsp sesame oil 1 Tbs chicken stock or water 1. Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch strips, and then slice the strips into small cubes. Put these in a small bowl, along with the marinade ingredients. Stir to combine and set aside. 2. Peel and thinly slice the garlic and ginger, and chop the white parts of the scallions into pieces about the size of the chicken cubes. Cut the chiles in half and carefully remove as many seeds as possible (I left mine whole). 3. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside. 4. In a wok or large frying pan, add 2 Tbs oil and heat over high. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chiles and Sichuan pepper. Stir-fry quickly, til they are crisp (but be careful not to burn them.) 5. Add the chicken and stir-fry on high, stirring constantly. As soon as the chicken pieces have separated, add the ginger, garlic, and scallions, and stir fry until they are fragrant and the chicken is cooked. 6. Stir the sauce and add it to the pan, continuing to stir constantly. When the sauce is thick and shiny, add the peanuts, stir them in, and then serve over rice. I cooked my rice with chopped fresh ginger.

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