Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao anything is going to be spicy. I've had Kung Pao chicken in some restaurants where there were more chilies than chicken - now that's overkill! My version has some kick to it, but is probably more on the medium scale of spicy. I also like adding sliced fresh jalapenos and button mushrooms, not traditional ingredients, but I think they work really well in this dish. Gil loves the sauce and thinks it tastes even better the next day.


Ingredients:
1 pkg. (about 2 lbs) of boneless, skinless chicken thighs - trimmed of fat & cut into 1" dice.
3 scallions, chopped
8-oz. pkg. of button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 red onion, chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded & sliced
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped


8 dried red Japanese chilies (or any other small 2" long dried red chilies)
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts


Marinade:
1 tsp. of the reserved minced garlic
1 heaping tbsp. of the reserved chopped scallion
2 tbsp. Shaohsing or rice wine
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. sugar


Sauce:
5 tbsp. black vinegar
3 tbsp. Shaohsing or rice wine
6 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 cup water


Cooked white rice


1. Place diced chicken in a medium bowl and add marinade ingredients. Mix well, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 


2. Stir all sauce ingredients together in a 2-cup measuring cup or bowl. Set aside.


3. In a wok or large saute pan, heat 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil over high heat. Add marinated chicken and saute until meat is lightly browned and cooked through. Remove to a bowl and set aside. 


4. Return same wok/saute pan back on to high heat and add 1 tbsp. vegetable oil. When oil is very hot, add dried red chilies (leave whole) and saute until chilies start to turn brown. 


5. Add remaining chopped garlic & scallions, then chopped red onion, button mushrooms, and sliced jalapenos to the pan. Continue cooking over high heat until mushrooms are soft. 


6. Stir in reserved chicken, and continue cooking 1-2 minutes. Add sauce and bring mixture to a boil. Continue cooking for several minutes until sauce is thickened. 


7. Remove chicken to a serving platter and top with chopped cilantro. Serve with hot white rice.


Soy sauce, sesame oil, Shaohsing wine, Black vinegar, and dry roasted peanuts.

Japanese dried red chilies & cornstarch. If you don't have the Japanese chilies, by all means use any other dried red chili (except for maybe those little Thai bird ones, unless you're a glutton for punishment).

8-oz. package of button mushrooms.

Slice 'em up.

Chop 1/4 of a red onion.

6-8 cloves of garlic, minced.

2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced.

3 scallions, chopped.

1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped.

Approximately 2 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1" dice.

Add marinade ingredients to the diced chicken and mix well. Cover and place in the frig for at least 30 minutes.

Stir together sauce ingredients in a measuring cup or bowl. Set aside.

About 8 pods of dried red Japanese chilies, or however many according to your taste.

Heat 2 tbsp. of veggie oil over high heat and saute marinated chicken.

Stir-fry over high heat until chicken is cooked through and browned.

Remove cooked chicken to a bowl and set aside.

In the same pan, add another 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil and cook whole chili pods over high heat until they start to brown.

Add garlic, scallions, red onion, mushrooms and jalapenos. Cook until mushrooms are softened and lightly browned.

Stir in chicken.

Add 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts.

Add sauce and bring to a boil. Cook for several minutes until sauce is thickened.

Place on serving dish and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro. Best served with hot white rice.

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