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Inauthentic (But Very Good) Kung Pao Chicken April 4, 2012

Posted by Jim Berkin in Cooking, Food.
Tags: , , ,
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I know the following concoction isn’t traditional in a number of ways, but it’s really easy and comes out great.

NOTE: All ingredient amounts are for 1/2 of a boneless chicken breast & 1 serving of vegetables. If you’re less antisocial than I am, then the math is up to you.

First, cut up some boneless breast (or thigh meat) into 1 inch pieces. Marinate in 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp cornstarch and 1 tsp of peanut oil. Mix it up with your hand for best results (Yeah, I know, “That’s what she said”). Marinate in the ‘fridge for a half hour.

I cut up some broccoli florets, carrot & white onion the last time I did this. I’ve also included peanuts, snow peas, bok choi, and red bell pepper. Any/all of those in whatever combo you like works fine.

Sauce: In a mug or small bowl combine: 1 tsp cornstarch, 2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp white vinegar, 4 tsp soy sauce, 2 tsp sherry wine, 1 tsp (or more if you like it spicy like me, I use a heaping teaspoon) hot pepper paste (I like this kind) and 2 tsp of dark sesame oil. Mix it all up to dissolve the sugar and set aside.

Aromatics: Mince a good sized garlic clove with about 1 tsp of fresh ginger, and put in a small cup with a tsp or so of sherry wine.

To Cook: Use a smokin’ hot wok or a frying pan over high heat. First, add a little peanut oil and chow up the vegetables to how you like them – I usually like them a little crisp, but with the edges slightly blackened. Remove from the pan.

Re-oil the pan (a little if it’s a well-seasoned wok) and add the marinated chicken. Cook the chicken until slightly browned on the outside and done on the inside (use the stirring spoon to test for firmness, and yes, she also said that). You can either remove the chicken from the wok for the next step, or simply clear a space in the middle, and add the aromatics with the sherry. The sherry will boil off very quickly, stir the garlic/ginger until fragrant (it’ll also deglaze the pot a little) and then stir the chicken back in with it until it’s well mixed. Add the cooked vegetables. Then add the sauce & stir until well mixed & the sauce thickens and coats everything, which should take no more than a minute or so.

Serve it on up! Sprinkle some chopped green onion on top, why dontcha. Goes well with rice (duh) as well as noodles or even a nice piece of crusty bread.

It’s hot stuff too, so have plenty of beer and water on hand.

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