Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Kung Pao Chicken


Kung Pao Chicken is my favorite Chinese dish. While living in Boston I tried it for the first time as it was one of the offerings on a prix fixe menu. Previously, I was stuck in a Hunan Chicken rut. It was love at first bite. You can't beat the combination of peanuts, chili peppers, tender chicken and colorful crisp vegetables in a fragrant sauce. 

I have added a lot more vegetables to this dish and there are no traditional szechuan peppercorns. Mine is served over brown rice. It most likely wouldn't be considered Kung Pao Chicken in China, so if you like, you can call it Spicy Chicken and Vegetables. 

Ingredients
Marinade
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce (substitute: shoyu soy sauce)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine (substitute: dry sherry)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons arrowroot powder (substitute: corn starch)

Sauce
2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
2 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon agave nectar (substitute: sugar)

½ cup unsalted peanuts
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons peanut oil (substitute: canola or vegetable oil, but not olive oil)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
3 carrots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 red chili peppers, halved lengthwise
Steamed brown rice, to serve

Mix tamari, rice wine, sesame oil and arrowroot and marinate chicken in mixture for 20 minutes.

Mix the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. Chop garlic, ginger, chili peppers, bell peppers, celery and carrots. These items should be ready to toss in the wok when you begin cooking.

In a wok, over medium high heat, toast peanuts and set aside. This takes about 3 minutes.

Over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil to the hot wok. Give the marinating chicken a quick stir then add to the wok and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Set chicken aside. Add the garlic, ginger and chili peppers, stir-fry one minute. Add a little water to the wok if it becomes dry. Add the carrots and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add the bell peppers, celery and sauce mixture cooking for another 3 minutes. Add the chicken back to the wok, stir and cook another minute or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chili peppers.

Serve over steamed rice and garnish with the toasted peanuts. 

Serves 4-6 

© 2009 Madame Monaco All Rights Reserved

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