Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

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by Betty Lee

WCNC.com

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 9 at 12:42 PM

Kung Pao Chicken

Serves 2-3  as main dish over cooked rice or 5-6 appetizer portions on lettuce cups
 

Chicken and Marinade:
1 ¼ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of visible fat, cut in roughly ¾” cubes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (if using regular table salt, use 1/4 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon soy sauce (a good quality brand such as Kikkoman regular with red cap)
1 Tablespoon dry vermouth, dry sherry, or Chinese rice wine
 

For Stir Fry:
1 Tablespoon peanut oil or other high smoke point oil (grapeseed, safflower, soy, etc*)
3/4 cup ½ -inch diced celery
1/4 cup each ½ -inch diced water chestnuts and sweet pepper
Pinch of kosher salt (about ¼ teaspoon)
2 Tablespoons peanut oil or other high smoke point oil (grapeseed, safflower, soy, etc*)
2 scallions, cut into 2 inch segments, then cut vertically into thinner slivers
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 – 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic ( 1-2 medium cloves)
3/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes or 8-10 whole dried red chili peppers (or to taste)

Sauce: Mix sauce ingredients (except for peanuts) in a small bowl and set aside
2 teaspoons soy sauce (a good quality brand such as Kikkoman regular with red cap)
2 teaspoons rice vinegar, white vinegar, or white or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon dry vermouth, dry sherry, or Chinese rice wine
Garnish: 1/2 cup dry roasted skinless peanuts (either unsalted or lightly salted type)
 

Method of Preparation:
Place chicken pieces and marinade ingredients in a medium bowl (or zip type plastic bags).  Mix to coat well.  Only needs to marinate about 10 minutes.
Heat a wok or sauté pan till hot. Add 1 tablespoon oil, and heat about 30 seconds.  Stir in some of the scallion, ginger, garlic till fragrant and just starting to lightly brown on edges.  Add the celery, water chestnuts, sweet pepper and salt, cooking for about a minute then remove to a plate.  Add 2 tablespoons oil to the pan, and heat about 30 seconds.  Add remaining scallion, ginger, garlic.  Stir fry till fragrant and just starting to lightly brown on edges.   Add pepper flakes (or whole dried peppers – snap a few in half first if more heat is desired).  Add the marinated chicken pieces and stir fry till opaque and beginning to brown slightly.  Add vegetables, then the sauce mixture.  Stir to distribute, turn heat down to low for about a minute to make sure chicken pieces are cooked through.  Stir in the roasted peanuts just before serving over rice or in lettuce “cups”
*preferably not canola oil even though it has the highest smoke point, at high temperatures (especially for prolonged deep frying) develop a metallic and or fishy flavor even when not cooking seafood.

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