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, in fact, it was 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.    And it’s easy to find everything here that goes into Asian cuisine, so once I found the right combination, it’s a meal we ate a lot. In fact, I recently fed a group of 50 gentlemen 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. Let me know if you do!

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
    • 1 teaspoon white wine
    • 2 1/2 TAB soy sauce
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 2 1/2 TAB vegetable oil , divided
    • 1/4 cup diced green onion
    • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
    • 3 garlic cloves, diced or grated
    • 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
    • 1/2 Tab cornstarch mixed with 1/2 tablespoon water
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 1 red pepper , cut into bite sized cubes
    • 1 large zucchini, cut into bite sized cubes

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the chicken, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, egg, 1/4 cup cornstarch and 2 TABS of vegetable oil and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

In a small bowl add the wine, soy sauce and water and 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. Remove chicken from pan.

Add 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 pan, add green onions, ginger, garlic, crushed red pepper, and sesame oil.  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 pay, stir to combine and warm through, and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

 

 

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