Kung Pao Chicken
February 03, 2018
One of my favorite Chinese dishes to cook is not terribly authentic, but is delicious, and easy to make. Kung Pao Chicken is a takeout chinese special and if you cook it at home you can skip the sugar and reduce the corn starch that make it unhealthy to order out. I’ve adapted this recipe from Serious Eats and reduced the sugar and added sichuan peppercorns for more of the mala spice.
Stir frying in a wok requires extremely high heat and constant movement of the items to keep things from burning and to make sure that everything is cooked evenly. You want to chop all your ingredients to be roughly the same size so that nothing ends up undercooked or tough. I like to serve this over brown rice or quinoa.
One other tip is to make sure you try to use dark soy sauce, which has a much richer and more intense flavor than regular soy sauce. If you can’t find dark soy you can use regular soy sauce but you may need to add more sauce, to taste.
- 1 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped into 1 inch chunks
- 1 Tbsp. White pepper
- 1 Tbsp. Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp., divided soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon, divided mirin
- 1 teaspoon, divided sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon, divided cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp. chicken stock, /recipe/chicken-stock
- 2 stalks Celery, diced
- 1 Green Bell Pepper, diced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 scallion, minced
- 8 small dried red chilies
- Marinate the chicken with salt, white pepper, sichuan peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. mirin, and 1/2 tsp. corn starch. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes.
- Mix a tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon of mirin, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of chicken stock, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch in a bowl and set aside.
- Heat some corn oil in a wok on high heat until smoking. Add the marinated chicken and cook without moving for 1 minute. Stir and cook more for another 2 minutes and then set aside in a large bowl while you cook the other ingredients.
- Heat 2 more tablespoons of corn oil in the wok and add the diced bell peppers, dried chilies, and celery, tossing for 1 minute. Add the peanuts and toss to combine.
- Add the ginger, garlic, chopped scallion, and dried chiles and stir to combine for another 30 seconds.
- Return the chicken to the wok with the reserved stir fry sauce and cook for another minute.
- Serve immediately over rice.
Written by Will Chiong who lives and works in New York building useful things.