Kung Pao Chicken

This recipe is from a cookbook I was super excited to receive a couple years ago. It is called “Food of China” with recipes by Deh-Ta Hsiung and Nina Simonds. My husband may have some family recipes, but it’s nice to have written versions to compare to his memory. This particular dish is not like anything his parents make because it’s from a different region of China, but it was definitely a hit with us!

Directions for Kung Pao Chicken (modified from the Food of China book)

Chicken marinade:

About 2 lbs chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons mirin
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Start with cutting the chicken into bite-size cubes. Place in a bowl and pour the marinade ingredients on top, except for the cornstarch.

For the cornstarch, mix just enough water with it to form a paste and stir that in with the chicken until all pieces are evenly coating with the marinade. Marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Up close and personal

Everything else:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 1 can water chestnuts
  • 1 lb of spinach or other green leafy veggie (we used Gai Lan Mui Choy)
  • 3 teaspoons mirin
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chili sauce or substitute (we used red pepper flakes)
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon black vinegar (they called for Chinese, but all we had was balsamic and it worked well)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

 

Over medium heat, dry-fry the peanuts until browned.

Blanch the water chestnuts in a pan of boiling water then refresh in cold water and drain, patting dry. Slice them if yours did not come pre-sliced

In a pan, stir fry the veggies with 2 teaspoons of garlic and 2 teaspoons of mirin until cooked.

Put aside and keep warm.

Stir fry the chicken in a tablespoon of oil until fully cooked.

Place aside.

Adding a little more oil to the pan, heat until very hot (shimmering).

Stir fry the spring onion, ginger, remaining garlic, and chili sauce until fragrant (about 20 seconds).

Add the water chestnuts and heat through.

Add to the pan the remaining: sugar, black vinegar, chicken stock, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, and cornstarch (mix with water like above). Simmer until thickened.

Stir in the chicken and peanuts to coat with the sauce, then plate.

Serve with rice!

Without Pictures:

Directions for Kung Pao Chicken (modified from the Food of China book)

Chicken marinade:

  • About 2 lbs chicken breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons mirin
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Start with cutting the chicken into bite-size cubes.

Place in a bowl and pour the marinade ingredients on top, except for the cornstarch. For the cornstarch, mix just enough water with it to form a paste and stir that in with the chicken until all pieces are evenly coating with the marinade. Marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Everything else:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 1 can water chestnuts
  • 1 lb of spinach or other green leafy veggie (we used Gai Lan Mui Choy)
  • 3 teaspoons mirin
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chili sauce or substitute (we used red pepper flakes)
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon black vinegar (they called for Chinese, but all we had was balsamic and it worked well)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Over medium heat, dry-fry the peanuts until browned.

Blanch the water chestnuts in a pan of boiling water then refresh in cold water and drain, patting dry. Slice them if yours did not come pre-sliced

In a pan, stir fry the veggies with 2 teaspoons of garlic and 2 teaspoons of mirin until cooked. Put aside and keep warm. Stir fry the chicken in a tablespoon of oil until fully cooked then place aside.

Adding a little more oil to the pan, heat until very hot (shimmering). Stir fry the spring onion, ginger, remaining garlic, and chili sauce until fragrant (about 20 seconds). Add the water chestnuts and heat through. Add to the pan the remaining: sugar, black vinegar, chicken stock, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, and cornstarch (mix with water like above). Simmer until thickened. Stir in the chicken and peanuts to coat with the sauce, then plate.

We really liked the technique of cooking the garlic, onion, and ginger at the high heat with a little bit of a kick. It had such a good smell and flavor. Like most Asian cooking, if you have the ingredients prepped beforehand, it goes really fast and it’s pretty simple.

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