KUNG PAO CHICKEN

George likes his chicken spicy!

We like ours spicy too, but the beautiful thing about Kung Pao is that you can tame it to your favorite degree of heat by playing with the type of peppers you add, or reducing the amount of its most important ingredient: Szechuan peppercorns. Daredevils out there, pair Szechuan with Habaneros! Just make sure to have the firemen on speed dial…

KUNG PAO CHICKEN
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

to marinate the chicken:
3 boneless/skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cornstarch

for the sauce:
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon dry sherry
3 tsp hoisin sauce
1 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

for the stir-fry:
4 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 red bell pepper seeded and diced
1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper seeded and diced
1 Serrano pepper, seeded and finely minced (or another hot pepper of your choice)
1 tablespoon (or to taste) Sichuan peppercorns, coarsely ground
1/2 cup roasted/unsalted peanuts
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Combine all ingredients for the chicken in a shallow bowl; cover and marinate for 30 minutes.
Whisk sauce ingredients together and set aside. Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons peanut oil, allow to heat up, then add marinated chicken. Stir-fry chicken for a few minutes, until edges are browned, which will happen reasonably quickly because of the baking soda. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add remaining cooking oil to the pan, stir in ginger, bell peppers, and Sichuan peppercorns and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Pour the reserved sauce into the pan and bring it to a boil. Add the chicken pieces, and heat everything together for a couple more minutes. Add the peanuts, sesame oil, and serve over rice.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Szechuan peppers are quite special. They have a numbing effect, quite different from any other pepper and they are pretty much mandatory in a Kung Pao. I used a mortar and pestle to grind it, some recipes tell you to toast them lightly before grinding, but I used them fresh from the bag.

Marinating the chicken with the baking soda for 30 minutes is a quicker version of velveting, and worked pretty nicely, the meat developed that texture we all love in Chinese cooking. A little white rice, some green beans and all of a sudden we realized that Kung Pao is a nice antidote for the Polar Vortex.

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KUNG PAO CHICKEN
(adapted from