Chinese Take-Out Kung Pao Chicken
One of the hottest of Chinese dishes, kung pao originates from Szechwan province, where the people's love for spicy cuisine is legend. If you're not such a fan of the hot stuff, just leave out a few of the chiles to make it milder. Or if you like your kung pao 'China Syndrome' hot, add a few more. A large quantity of peanuts makes this dish irresistible. From the Take-Out Menu Cookbook.
- Ready In:
- 1hr 30mins
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon rice wine
- 2 tablespoons rice wine
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1⁄3 cup peanut oil or 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup peanuts, preferably boiled and unsalted
- 5 dried hot red chiles (to taste)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 3 slices fresh ginger, quarter-sized pieces, peeled and minced
- white rice, for serving
- Combine the egg white, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon rice wine in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons rice wine with the rice vinegar, sugar, hoisin, and sesame oil and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until it's hot and barely smoking. Add the peanuts and toss them for about 2 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Remove the peanuts from the oil and transfer them to a heatproof plate. Set aside.
- Add the chicken to the oil and toss, cooking until it is slightly browned on the outside, but not cooked all the way through, about 2 minutes. Remove the chicken from the wok and add it to the peanuts. (There will be some brown bits on the bottom of the wok. They will help thicken the sauce when it is added to the pan later. Be careful and don't let them burn, or your sauce will taste sharp.).
- Add the chiles to the wok and cook them until they turn almost black, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, green onions, and ginger along with the peanuts, chicken, and sauce. Toss to incorporate the sauce and heat through. Serve with rice.
- Variation: Sometimes we like to add vegetables to this dish to make it a one-dish meal. Try adding sliced water chestnuts and green or red bell peppers, brocolli, or bok choy along with the other vegetables in the dish. By swapping out the peanuts for cashews, the dish becomes cashew chicken. You can also vary the dish by using thinly sliced pork or beef, or whole shrimp.