Kung Pao Chicken

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Kung Pao Chicken, a popular Chinese dish, is one of my all time favorites! I recently went grocery shopping at Nakwon, one of the few Asian stores here in Vienna, and bought some more yummy Asian sauces and other goodies. This recipe was slightly tweaked but inspired by a recipe post that I found on pbs.org by Alice Currah.

from left to right: rice vinegar, soy sauce (Kikkoman is the best), sesame oil, hoisin sauce, dark soy sauce (pearl river bridge is the best brand for this one, and some good ol' cornstarch)
from left to right: rice vinegar, soy sauce (Kikkoman is the best), sesame oil, hoisin sauce, dark soy sauce (pearl river bridge is the best brand for dark soy sauce), and some good ol’ cornstarch)

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have most of these sauces! I would say the dark soy sauce, sesame oil, and corn starch are actually the “main” ingredients and all you’ll need to make this work! I just like to mix in some other sauces for more flavor but it will still taste absolutely delicious without all those little extras. So, I made ALOT of Kung Pao Chicken this time because we wanted to have leftovers, but of course you can cut the ingredients in half and it will be perfect for 2 people (and maybe you’ll still have some leftovers). Here is what I used:

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts cut into slightly “bigger” cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 dried and chopped hot pepper
  • 2 teaspoons crushed sichuan peppercorns
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • Sauce **See recipe below.
  • Marinade *See recipe below.
  • Handful of leeks (can also use scallions)
  • 2 handfuls of dry-roasted peanuts (can use more or less as you like)

*For the marinade:

  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon regular soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan pepper corns

Whisk the ingredients together until the corn starch is dissolved.

**For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon chicken stock/broth
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce (add more or less depending on how salty your broth or soy sauce is)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce (optional)

Whisk the ingredients until the corn starch is dissolved.

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sichuan peppercorns and dried chili pepper (so beautiful)
Sichuan peppercorns and dried chili pepper (so beautiful)

Directions:

  • Coat the cubed chicken with the *marinade in a bowl and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

    I may have accidentally drenched it in marinade, this is not necessary (I reduced the measurements in the actual recipe a little bit)
    I may have accidentally drenched it in marinade, this is not necessary (I reduced the measurements in the actual recipe on the post)
  • While the chicken is marinating you can get started on the **sauce for later!
  • When the chicken is done marinating, heat the vegetable oil in a large pan (if you have a wok, that’s even better!) on high heat. Once the pan is hot, turn the stove top off and then add the chopped chili pepper and crushed peppercorns quickly stirring for 1 minute (be careful not to burn it)
  • Add the chicken to the pan and turn the heat back on to medium high.
  • Once the chicken is cooked add the ginger and garlic. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Slowly add the **sauce a tablespoon at a time, making sure the chicken is absorbing all the flavors between additions.
  • Once the chicken is done cooking, add the leeks (or green parts of the scallions) and peanuts. Cook for a minute or two longer.
  • Garnish with some leftover peanuts and leeks
  • Serve with a side of brown rice

Enjoy!

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