Kung Pao Chicken

makes 4 servings

I was txt’ng with an old friend last night and she reminded me about this recipe that I passed along to her eons ago. I haven’t made it in decades, but I used to make it all the time, probably serving with just white rice. First thing I did this AM was track it down. It’s not from a cookbook, but rather from Sunset Stir-Fry Cookbook; I think I picked it up at HomeDepot years ago, lol. I will try this again, but will look to pair it with Baby Bok Choy or Sichuan String Beans (recipes tbd).

  • 1 TBL each dry sherry and cornstarch
  • ½ tsp salt
  • tsp white pepper
  • pounds chicken breasts, skinned, boned, and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • ¼ cup salad oil (you can use oils like vegetable, canola, corn, peanut, or other light flavored oils.)
  • Cooking Sauce (recipe follows)
    • soy-sauce, white wine vinegar, dry sherry, chick-broth, sugar, cornstarch
  • 4-to-6 small dried red chiles
  • ½ cup salted peanuts
  • 1 tsp each minced garlic and grated fresh ginger
  • 2 green onions (including tops), cut into 1½-inch lengths
  • In a bowl, stir together sherry, cornstarch salt , and white pepper
  • Add the chicken and stir to coat, then stir in 1 TBL of the oil and let marinate for 15 minutes
  • Meanwhile, prepare Cooking Sauce and set aside
  • Place a wok over medium heat; when wok is hot, add 1 TBL of the oil.
  • When oil is hot, add the chiles and peanuts and stir until chiles just begin to char (if chilis become completely black, discard them. Remove peanuts from wok and set aside, repeat with new oil and chiles)
  • Remove chiles and peanuts from wok; set aside
  • Pour 1 TBL more oil into wok and increase to high heat
  • When oil begins to heat, add garlic and ginger and stir once, then add half the chicken mixture
  • Stir-fry until meat is no longer pink in center; cut to test (about 3 minutes)
  • Remove from wok and set aside
  • Repeat to cook remaining chicken, adding remaining 1 TBL oil
  • Return all chicken to wok; add peanuts, chiles and onions.
  • Stir Cooking Sauce and pour into wok; stir until sauce boils and thickens.
Instructions – Cooking Sauce

Stir together 2 TBL soy sauce, 1 TBL each white wine vinegar and dry sherry, 3 TBL regular-strength chicken broth (or water), and 2 TBL each sugar and cornstarch

Chatting with my friend M this AM, and she likes to make more cooking sauce when she makes this dish. These are her proportions: 3 TBL soy sauce, 2 TBL each white wine vinegar and dry sherry, 3 TBL water (instead of the chicken-broth), 1 TBL corn starch and 3 TBL sugar. She says “I find the proportions they have is not enough and it gets too thick. And I use almost 1 cup of peanuts!

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