After trying out the American-Chinese recipe, General Tso's Chicken, a few weeks ago and loving it, I was intrigued when I saw another US-Chinese recipe go through on my blogreader : Kung Pao Chicken. It sounded equally lovely, not to mention a great way of using up some of the ends of bottles of my Oriental ingredients, so I decided to give it a go. The original recipe uses 6-10 hot chillis but I tamed things down by substituting them for a teaspoon of chilli paste, to make it more family friendly. It was sweet and tangy but barely spicy at all so I'd add more net time.
Kung Pao chicken
a drizzle of vegetable oil
a pack of chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger (I used powdered)
1 teaspoon chilli paste
1 cup dry roasted peanuts (or I used cashews)
2 onions (or a bunch of spring onions)
For the Marinade:
1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or sherry (I used ginger wine)
3/4 teaspoon cornflour
For the Sauce:
1/4 cup black Chinese vinegar or dark balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons black sesame oil
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons cornflour
Put the marinade ingredients into a bowl and give it a good stir to blend in the cornflour.
Chop the chicken into chunks and toss it in the marinade. Leave to soak up the flavours while you get on with the rest of the dish.
Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. I thought it sounded like a LOT of vinegar but all the flavours balance out nicely in the end. The last time I tried Hoisin sauce, it came out of a bottle (I can't remember the brand) and I hated it because it was really pungent and tart. This time I had a tin of Amoy Hoi Sin Sauce and it is delicious - sweet, smoky and gooey like caramel.
Heat the oil in a large wok and pour in the chicken and marinade. Stir fry for 3 minutes.
Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for a further 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the ginger and chilli paste, give it a stir, then pour in the sauce.
Sprinkle in a good handful of nuts - traditionally peanuts but I had some cashews which worked well too.
Keep cooking, constantly stirring, until the sauce has thickened and everything is perfectly covered. Serve with rice.
*** Don't miss my country-by-country globecooking recipe index ! ***
If you want to try some more American recipes, how about Hoppin' John & Collards (South Carolina), Parmesan Chicken Breast, Minnesotan Hotdish or Snickerdoodles ?
Adding to the #KitchenClearout linky. This helped use up my Oriental ingredients (soy sauce, ginger wine, black vinegar) and made use of a tin of hoisin sauce that has been lurking in the cupboard for ages because I thought I didn't like it !