Kung Pao Chicken
This has long been a favorite dish of mine, since I first tried it at the Szechuan Imperial in New York City in 1978. Unfortunately, versions at most restaurants have been "Cantonesed", and aren't close to what I first tried; for example, adding vegetables such as green peppers. It is a simple dish, but I haven't yet been satisfied with my attempts to cook it.
This recipe is based on information I got from the owner of Yen Ching in Harvard Square, who had a recipe I really liked. It's close enough for now.
- 1 tbs dark soy sauce
- 1 tbs light soy sauce
- 1 tbs cooking sherry (I substitute 2 tbs white vinegar)
- 1/2 tbs chopped garlic
- 2 tbs corn starch
- 1 tbs sesame oil
- 1/2 to 3/4 pound chopped chicken thigh meat
Fry hot peppers in oil until they are blackened. Beware the smoking oil: it is very bad for the lungs and eyes!
- 2 tbs oil
- around 20 tienjan Szechuan dried hot peppers
Add the peanuts and fry until they begin to brown (or the skin cracks.)
- 1/2 cup peanuts
Then remove the peanuts and peppers to a bowl.
Fry the chicken mix in the spicy oil quickly until it is cooked. (I find you need very high heat and no more than one recipe at a time for this to work right, unless you have a commercial wok.)
- 1 large or 3 small scallions, chopped
Add the sauce, return the peanuts and peppers, add scallions, and cook until the sauce is thickened or absorbed.