Kung Pao Chicken ~ Helen Chen's
As shared from the Kitchen of Once Upon a Plate (www.onceuponaplate1.com)
Serves 3 to 4, or 5 to 6 as part of a multi course meal
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
3 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt (I use 1/2 teaspoon)
1 Tablespoon corn starch
1 to 2 teaspoons dry sherry (not cooking sherry)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
1 to 2 teaspoons sesame seed oil (Asian style)
2 to 4 dried red chilis, seeds removed*
3 Tablespoons canola, or peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, toasted and ground (omit if not available)
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
1 scallion, both green and white parts cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths,
Plus 2 Tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
2 slices unpeeled fresh ginger root, 1 x 1/8 inch each (don't substitute)
1/2 cup unsalted blanched peanuts, toasted or unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
Place the chicken in a bowl. Add 1 Tablespoon of the soy sauce, salt and cornstarch and mix well. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce together along with the sherry, sugar, vinegar and sesame seed oil. Set aside.
Pour the cooking oil into a cold wok or stir-fry pan and add chilies. Heat pan over medium-high heat and stir the pepper until they turn dark brown. Add the ground peppercorn, garlic, scallion pieces, and ginger root and stir for a few moments. Stir up the chicken in the bowl to coat evenly with the seasonings, and pour it into the pan ~ Toss and stir quickly. After stirring for about 1 minute add the soy sauce mixture, peanuts and the thinly sliced scallions. Turn heat up to high and stir for about 45 seconds until well mixed. Remove the chilies and ginger root if desired. Serve hot.
*You can substitute 1 to 3 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes, or 3 fresh Thai chilies for the dried chilies ~ Add at the same time the ground pepper corns, garlic and scallions are added.
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