Saturday, August 19, 2006

Kung Pao Chicken

Sorry for the delay my friends, we were out of town for a wedding for a while and what with the boy traveling a couple days every week and me starting a new job I haven't been cooking as much as I would like. But here is a new favorite which I made week or so ago that I've just been dying to share with you.

As you know, I have been experimenting in the world of Asian cuisine and have had fairly good success. I made dumplings again, and they were just as good the second time, if just as labor intensive. My latest attempt was Kung Pao Chicken, which I must say, came out very well. I cut the chicken into very small pieces, with the idea that you should try to keep all your ingredients the same size when cooking, and I really liked how that made the dish. I halved the recipe except when it came to the sauce, which was good because there was just enough... could have even done with a little more. I also added vegetables to this--red bell peppers, onion, and carrots. Serve with rice!

As usual, it called for using a wok, which I don't own, so I used a fry pan which seemed to work fine though I might slowly be killing it, alas. This recipe didn't sound like it would come out tasting like it does in chinese restaurants, but it did! Kind of. It was really good, I must say. Definitely a keeper.

Kung Pao Chicken
copied from with mods.
Serves 2

1/2 lb. boned, skinned chicken breasts - cubed very small
1 Tbls. soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbls. cornstarch mixed with 1 1/2 Tbls. cold water

2 Tbls. soy sauce
1 Tbls. dry sherry
1 Tbls. granulated sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sesame oil

2 Tbls. vegetable oil - divided
1/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
2-4 dried red chili peppers - chopped (I used one smallish New Mexican dried chili pepper... all I could find)
1 slice peeled, fresh ginger - chopped
1 clove garlic - sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, sliced or a handful of baby carrots, halved

1) Combine chicken, 1 Tbls. soy sauce, and cornstarch/water mixture; allow to marinate for 30 minutes.

2) Combine 2 Tbls. soy sauce, sherry, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and sesame oil; set aside.

3) In a hot wok, stir-fry the peanuts in 1 Tbls. vegetable oil until golden brown, remove peanuts from wok, and set aside. BE CAREFUL they brown up really fast and burnt peanuts are really gross.

4) Fill wok with vegetable oil for frying and heat to 350 degrees. Carefully slide the chicken into the wok, piece by piece, and fry for 1 minute.

5) Remove chicken from oil and drain on a brown paper bag (I found a sturdy paper towel doubled up works too). Remove oil from wok.

6) In hot wok, stir-fry the red peppers in 1 Tbls. vegetable oil until they turn dark. Add bell peppers and onions and cook until they begin to get tender. Add carrots, ginger, garlic, and chicken to the wok and fry, stirring constantly. Stir the prepared sauce and add to the wok. Stir and cook wok contents until the sauce is thickened. Stir in peanuts and serve.

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