Thursday, June 17, 2010

Jun 17, 2010: LOP Kung Pao Chicken

So far I enjoyed the first dish I cooked from, Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking.

Another popular dish in the USA is Kung Pao Chicken.
Peanuts in a sweet, savory and spicy sauce cooked with Peanuts. Besides the restaurant version, The "authentic" version I'm familiar with was made by a classmate for a graduation party. She (Taiwanese, hence the air-quotes on "authentic") made the dish with chicken thigh meat. I on the other hand used chicken breast which was the best deal at the supermarket.

Kung Pao Chicken
(Ref: Fuchsia Dunlop's Land of Plenty - Gong Bao Ji Ding)
2 Chicken Breast(about 12 oz), cubed into even chunks
3 Cloves of garlic, minced
Same amount of Ginger, minced
5 Green Onions, White Parts Only, coarse diagonal slice
3 T Peanut Oil
8 - 10 Dried Red Chillies, split in half lengthwise and seeded
1 t Sichuan Peppercorns
75g (2/3 cup) Roasted Peanuts

For the marinade:
1/2 t Salt
2 t Light Soy Sauce
1 t Shaoxing wine
21/4 t Cornstarch
1 T Water

For the sauce:
3 t Sugar
1 t Cornstarch
1 t Dark Soy Sauce
1 t Light Soy Sauce
3 t Chinkiang Vinegar
1 t Sesame Oil
1 T Chicken Stock or Water



1.Pour a little peanut oil into the wok and heat until it smokes, swirling the oil around to cover the entire base of the wok. Pour off into a heatproof container. Add 3 tbsp fresh oil and heat over a high flame. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the chillies and Sichuan pepper and stir-fry for a few seconds until they are fragrant (take care not to burn them).

The peppers frying in 3 T of oil.

2.Add the chicken and continue to stir-fry. When the chicken cubes have separated, add the ginger, garlic and spring onions and stir-fry until they are fragrant and the meat is just cooked.

3.Give the sauce a stir and add to the wok, continuing to stir and toss. As soon as the sauce has become thick and lustrous, add the peanuts, mix them in, and serve immediately

Adding the sauce mixture...

Finally, adding the peanuts to coat with sauce

Dished out onto a serving plate...

Another tasty recipe. It's not as sweet as the Taiwanese version that I remember. Also, the vinegar didn't add the tartness I was expecting.

I'm going to sound like a judge on Iron Chef America and state the oil 3 Tablespoons seems a bit much. I could probably get away with using 1 to 11/2T of oil. This is called "making the recipe my own." lol!

I'm thinking of layers of flavor - spicy, tart, sweet and numbing (from the peppercorns). I may try adding distilled vinegar to bump up the tartness of the dish.

However, overall, the Kung Pao Chicken was very good.

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