Kung Pao Chicken

Do you ever get to a food court in a shopping mall when you’re especially hungry from a rigorous round of shopping and everything looks so shiny and delicious? Every family member goes their own way and gets their choice of a meal (this used to lead to many an argument in our house, but now each person gets handed their allotted amount and we go our separate ways).  I almost always headed for pizza, while my husband always got Asian, usually a soup, but always something Asian.  Often though, shiny food doesn’t mean delicious food, and the craving for Asian didn’t go away, but rather heightened because of the unsatisfying food court food.  Sadness ensues.  What does our family do? Go home and try to copy it so we are food happy once again.

I love Asian food, it seems there is an endless array of ways to make chicken and vegetables and soy sauce go together.  While sweet and sour chicken was the first Asian dish that I made here in Mexico, I quickly moved on to other flavors, and with a few more vegetables so I didn’t feel so guilty.

Kung Pao was more recent, I will admit. Where I live, it’s actually quite easy to find most ingredients that go into Asian recipes. This is so encouraging as we have learned to live without for so long.

I recently volunteered to feed a group of 50 gentlemen at a local course. I served this dish and was told many times over the flavors were fantastic and the sauce was perfect, so  I knew I had a keeper recipe.  We like this so much on its own, it’s rare we serve it with rice, but of course, that’s up to you.

Sometimes I marinade the chicken early in the day.  Sometimes I prepare everything early in the day and come home and toss it all together for a dinner ready in under 15 minutes.

You can toss peanuts on top if you want for a crunch, which is my husband’s thing, but they aren’t necessary.  It’s a fun recipe to play with and change around, I like red peppers and zucchini for colour, but I’ve used other bell peppers and green beans.

Enjoy some home style Asian food!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 TAB vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon white wine
  • 6 TAB soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup water
  • about 4 TAB vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 TAB cornstarch mixed with 1 TAB water
  • 2 TAB sesame oil
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, egg, 1/4 cup cornstarch and 2 TABS of vegetable oil. Add chicken pieces, stir to cover all pieces. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

In a small bowl combine the wine, soy sauce and water.  Set aside.

Heat wok or skillet on high heat, then add 2 TAB vegetable oil.  Remove chicken from marinade and add to pan, cooking until browned, about a few minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to large bowl.

Add 2 TAB more oil if necessary, then add red pepper and zucchini.  Cook for about 2 minutes, until cooked with a bite to it.  Add vegetables to chicken.

In same saucepan, heat sesame oil for about a minute.  Add green onions, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Let simmer for about a minute and then add the wine/soy/water mixture.  Bring to a boil, then add cornstarch/water mixture and stir until thickened.

Add the chicken and vegetables back to saucepan, stir to combine and warm through, and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

 

 

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