Kung Pao Chicken

Last Fall Matt and I decided that we wanted to learn how to stir fry. We got a great cook book, a brand new 14 inch carbon steel wok, and what seemed like dozens of various sauces, oils and seasonings. Since then we’ve made several recipes and all of them have had a much fresher and more authentic taste than any jarred stir-fry sauce that we had tasted in the past. Our favorite stir fry so far has been the Kung Pao Chicken. It may look like there are a lot of ingredients (because, well, there are!) but it is definitely worth it!

This posting is not really a recipe because I’m not actually listing the exact quantities of each ingredient. If you are interested in making this stir fry I recommend that you purchase the cook book that we use – “Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge” by Grace Young. This book is great because it not only has delicious recipes like Mongolian Lamb, Hoisin Pork, Hot Pepper Beef, and Kung Pao Chicken, it also has detailed information about stir fry food prep and techniques (seasoning a wok, mincing garlic, shredding scallions… all of those skills you never knew you needed until you tried to make a “real” stir fry!). The book is well-written and the recipes are delicious and I highly recommend it.

Kung Pao Chicken

Here are the many, many ingredients that you will need: (I’m not listing quantities here – you should check out the cook book to find them!)
Chicken Breast, cut into cubes
Minced Ginger
Minced Garlic
Soy Sauce (use wheat-free soy sauce for a g-free recipe)
Dry Sherry (or Shao Hsing Rice Wine)
Chicken Broth
Balsamic Vinegar (or Chinkiang Vinegar)
Dark Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil
Peanut Oil
Red Chili Peppers OR Chili-Garlic Sauce (that’s our one addition to this recipe… it tastes good though!)
Sichuan Peppercorns (Update: we mail-ordered these from Spices, Inc. with great results)
Red Bell Pepper, cut into 1 inch squares
Unsalted Roasted Peanuts
Minced Scallions
Cooked White Rice

Just a few of the many ingredients you will need!

Combine the chicken, ginger, garlic, cornstarch, soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, salt and cold water. In another smaller bowl or measuring cup combine the chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, and the rest of the rice wine. In yet another small bowl, combine the remaining sugar and salt and add the scallions and peanuts. Now you are ready to start stir frying!

Now you’re ready to start stir frying!

Heat your wok on high heat and swirl in half of the peanut oil. Add the chilis (or chili garlic sauce, in our case) and Sichuan peppercorns and stir fry for approximately 1 minute until chilis begin to smoke. Push the chili mixture aside and add the chicken. Spread the chicken in one layer on the bottom of the wok and cook for 1 minute undisturbed, then stir-fry for an additional minute.

Kung Pao Chicken

Swirl the remaining peanut oil into the wok and add the red bell peppers. Stir fry for 1 minute, then swirl the broth mixture into the wok and stir fry for another minute. Add the peanut-scallion mixture and stir fry for a final 30 seconds. Remove from heat and serve over white rice.