Well lately I have been missing china quite a bit, especially the wonderful food and I decided that I would make authentic mouth-watering Kung Pao Chicken 宫保鸡丁.
Many of you reading this (are there any?) either having been in China or who are from China, you will not class Kung Pao Chicken as wonderful. But for me it was always a comforting simple dish that i could order when unsure what to eat and it would always be satisfying.
Originally a dish from Sichuan province in South West China it is now a simple dish with regional variations and depending where you eat it, it will be spicier or sweeter but the general dish doesn’t change that much.
Consisting of stir fried chicken pieces, cucumber peanuts and spring onions or leeks in a sticky slightly spicy sauce and it will sometimes have Sichuan peppercorns in the dish to add heat. The recipe below may not be what you know but to me it provides the general idea of Kung Pao Chicken and i love it. It takes literally minutes to make and seconds to eat 😀 The key to stir frying is to prepare all the ingredients at the beginning before you start to cook and have them near the cooker so that you can cook quickly and easily. Like a good boy scout – be prepared. Have all pieces of food cut to similar sizes so that they cook evenly and look nice.
1 chicken breast, boned and skinned then chopped into small bite sized chunks
handful of peanuts – salted or dry roasted are fine
5 or 6 dried red chilli peppers – less if you don’t like it too hot
2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
thumb size piece of ginger finely chopped
4 or 5 spring onions or half a large leek chopped into bite size pieces
a piece of cucumber chopped into small bite-size chunks
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns – optional
splash of vegetable or ground nut oil for frying – these oils reach higher temperatures than
olive oil and are better for story frying
coating for the chicken
2 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1 – 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon black vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
In a bowl combine the ingredients for the coating for the chicken along with the chicken and give this a good mix. Leave this aside for five to ten minutes.
In a small bowl mix the ingredients for the sauce and leave near the cooker ready to use.
Pour a little oil into a wok on a medium heat and wait until the oil starts to gently smoke. This indicates that the oil and wok are hot and ready for cooking.
Add the chicken in its coating to the oil and stir the chicken in the wok until it turns white then remove back into the bowl it was in.
As the wok is still piping hot add in the sliced garlic and ginger, chilli peppers and Sichuan peppercorns (if using them) and move them around in the heat until the aromas are released.
Throw the chicken pieces back into the wok along with the spices and chilli peppers, cucumber chunks and the spring onion/leek.
Add the peanuts and the sauce and stir things around. Keep the food moving around in the wok so it cooks evenly and doesn’t burn or stick to the wok. Bring the sauce to the boil and you will see it thicken thanks to the cornflour.
Remove from the heat and serve either in a bowl to share with friends or you can enjoy it with boiled or fried rice and scoff it yourself – as I did.
Get cooking your Kung pao chicken and let me know how you get on by commenting or posting on social media.