Kung Pao is a cooking technique originated from the Sichuan province of China; the authentic Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁) or Gong Bao Ji Ding calls for the staple Sichuan peppercorn for the numbing flavor, however, the version popular outside of Sichuan has since been adapted to many regional variations. For examples: in Malaysia, Kung Pao chicken is served without peanuts, but sometimes cashew nuts are used; in Thailand, fish sauce and sweet soy sauce are used to flavor a similar dish. However, the Kung Pao chicken we get in 90% of so-called Chinese restaurants in the United States is the heavily Americanized version that appears gooey, greasy, and sweet. You will also find all kinds of vegetables in the dish such as carrots, water chestnuts, celery, zucchini, and even broccoli…

 

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe (宫保鸡丁)I tried to keep my Kung Pao Chicken recipe as authentic as possible, but feel free to tone down the quantity of dried chilies as you wish. I wanted to share the secret ingredient of Kung Pao chicken, which is vinegar in the sauce. It gives that subtle yet characteristic touch to complete the Kung Pao flavor

Recipe: Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 boneless & skinless chicken breast (or 3 boneless & skinless chicken drumsticks)
3 tablespoons roasted peanuts
8-12 dried red chilies (deseeded and cut into halves)
3 tablespoons cooking oil
5 slices peeled fresh ginger
2 gloves garlic (sliced diagonally)
1 stalk scallion (chopped)

For the marinate:

1 tablespoon corn starch
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon oil

For the sauce:

1 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon corn starch

Method:

  1. Cut the chicken meat into small cubes, rinse in water, pat dry with water and marinate with the ingredients above for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat up a wok with one tablespoon cooking oil and stir-fry the marinated chicken until they are 70% cook. Dish out and set aside.
  4. Clean the wok and add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of cooking oil until it smokes.
  5. Add in the ginger and garlic slices and do a quick stir before adding in the dried red chilies.
  6. Stir fry the dried red chilies until aromatic and they smell spicy, then add in the chicken meat.
  7. Do a quick stir before adding in the roasted peanuts and continue to stir a few times.
  8. Add in the sauce and stir continuously until the chicken meat is nicely coated with the sauce.
  9. Add in the scallions and stir evenly.
  10. Dish out and serve hot with steamed white rice.

Cook’s Notes:

  1. You can use the same recipe and substitute chicken with shrimp, scallops, or even vegetables for a vegetarian dish.
  2. As different soy sauce tastes differently and has different level of sodium so please adjust the saltiness accordingly. If the sauce tastes too salty, add some more sugar and water. If it’s not salty, add a little salt to taste
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