My husband and I both adore Kung Pao Chicken, and have been looking for the "perfect" one since our favorite place to eat it closed down several years ago. We have tried it all over town and nothing is exactly like we remember.
Hubby finally decided to make it himself. We have made it a few times before but haven't been satisfied with the results. This recipe is very close so we have decided to make it every other Friday night until we get it "perfect".
We started out with Kevin from Closet Cooking's Kung Pao Shrimp and hubby dabbled from there. I will let him take over now.
You will need.............
1.25 -1.5 pounds chicken (we used 1/2 boneless skinless breast portions and 1/2 boneless skinless thighs, rinse and remove large fat pieces) Cube into about 1/2" squares
2 teaspoons corn starch
4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons Shao Xing (if you cant find Shao Xing ask for Shao Sing it's cooking rice wine -- same product)
3 tablespoons peanut oil
10 dried red chilies (whole)
5 dried red chilies coarsely chopped
5 green onions (sliced)1/3 white onion diced largely
2 tablespoons garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoons ginger (1 tsp grated, one chopped finely)
2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 teaspoon light soy sauce
5 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar
1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil (the dark stuff)
3 tablespoon chicken stock
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 generous handful roasted peanuts
Mix the chicken, cornstarch, water, soy sauce, and rice wine in a plastic bag and let marinate for 10-20 minutes
Heat the oil in a pan until hot, then ad the red chilies and sichuan peppercorns and fry until fragrant, about a minute -- they will smoke and blacken, turn often, watch carefully and remove the peppers from the oil immediately once it looks like they start to burn (if you eat these, and I DO, they have a WONDERFUL peanutty flavor)
Let the oil get back to near smoking hot, add the chicken and saute for a minute or so per side, turning often to get a good sear
Add the white part of the green onions, the white onion, garlic and ginger.
Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, chicken stock, sugar and corn starch and cook until the chicken is cooked and the sauce thickens, a couple of minutes.
Serve with rice, garnished with the peanuts and the green part of the green onions.
I will likely remove the chicken from the marinade and toss separately in the corn starch prior to frying. I'll still add in the marinade as it makes up much of the sauce base. I will also toy around with some bean paste and oyster sauce. Also, thinking back to travels in China (where they had not heard of Kung Pao even in Sichuan restaurants) instead of sugar I will use honey and punch up the sweet and tangy side of this dish.
See you soon for more tweaks.