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Kung Pao Chicken

Today I attempted to make a popular and classic Chinese dish - Kung Pao Chicken. A little history lesson here... Kung pao chicken is a classic dish in Szechuan cuisine, traditionally made with chicken, dried chillies and peanuts - originating in the Sichuan Province of central-western China.

This dish is easy and simple to make. Making this at home is way better than a take out or ordering at the restaurant. Try it in your kitchen, play with the ingredients and you will for sure agree with me..

Last but not least, my husband only had one word after he tasted it..WOW!!!! Give it a try guys :)

Ingredients
1 pound boneless chicken breast diced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tbsp + 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
10 whole dry chili peppers
1/4 cup diced green onion
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp crushed red chili pepper or pepper flakes (I used 1 1/2 tsp of pepper flakes)
1/2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1/2 tbsp water
1/4 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
1 cup of chopped vegetables - zuccini, bell peppers, celery, carrots, broccoli florets etc
Red Chillies-Pepper flakes-peanuts-bell pepper - Cucumber - cornstarch mixture-ginger garlic - oil & green onion in the center
For Sauce
1 tsp cooking wine or 2 tsp dark rice vinegar
2 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup chicken stock or water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Cooking wine - soy sauce - chicken stock - sesame oil

For Marinade
2 tbsp chicken stock or water
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Chicken, salt , oil, chicken stock, egg, corn starch, soy sauce
Method
Combine the marinade ingredients. Cube chicken breast and mix in the marinade mixture. Let stand in the refrigerator for an hour while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a bowl, mix together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.

Heat a thick bottom pan on high heat for about 10 seconds. Add 2 tbsp of oil to the pan. Remove chicken from the marinade, shake off the excess marinade and add to the pan. Stir fry the chicken quickly for 3 to 5 minutes till the chicken pieces are light brown in color. You have to work fast as the flame is high and you are not supposed to burn the chicken. Remove the chicken from pan and drain on paper towels.
Add the dried chillies to the pan. Fry till the chillies are slightly blistered and black . At this point if the pan becomes too dry add 1/2 tbsp oil. Add green onions, ginger, garlic and pepper flakes. Fry for 30 seconds.
Add the veggies and fry for a minute or 2 and then add the chicken back to the pan, keep stirring and fry for 3 to 5 minutes till the chicken pieces are dark brown in color.  Add the sauce mixture. Let the sauce come to a boil. Keep stirring.
Once the sauce comes to a boil and almost diminishes, add in the cornstarch mixture to let the sauce thicken.
Add in the peanuts. Stir and fold till all the ingredients are well incorporated.Turn off the heat and garnish with green onions. Serve with a side of rice or fried rice.

Note
 Different brands of soy sauces vary in terms of saltiness, so taste your sauce. If it’s too salty, add some sugar and water to dilute.
Try not to cut the chicken into big chunks as they take more time to cook. 1/2 inch cubes is all you want for this recipe.
Cut down or increase the amount of pepper flakes depending on you spice level.

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