Saturday, April 26, 2014

Kung Pao Chicken

This is what I ate for Easter.  Admittedly, it was a strange decision.  

I have a new favorite, affordable restaurant.   It used to be a place called Roti, but I have moved on.  You can only have so much of a good thing.  My new favorite it Teaism.  I have eaten there twice this week.  That's an impressive feat because I general bring my lunch to work with me.  I like the atmosphere and the food selection.  They have items like bento boxes, curries, and Korean beaf.  They also have several non-cafenated teas.

When I first made this recipe, I though Kung Pao chicken was a western invention like fortune cookies.      According to Wikipedia, the western version is different than the traditional Chinese version.  
One difference is that Americans do not use Sichuan peppercorns.  America did not import Sichuan peppercorns from 1968 until 2005 because they can carry a disease harmful to citrus trees.  A new method of screening the peppercorns was introduced, and now they can be imported.

This dish originates in Sichuan province, a province known for its spicy cuisine.  Tradition holds that it was named after a governor of Sichuan who served during the Qing Dynasty.  During the Cultural Revolution the dish became out of favor because of its association with the Qing Dynasty.  The government later rehabilitated it in the 1980s.  Not only is the dish delicious, but it's a little scandalous too.

I got the recipe from  That is where I got my stellar chocolate pancake recipe too. 

The ingredients are 1 pound boneless chicken thighs, 1 tablespoon corn starch, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 3 tablespoons green onions, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 1/3 cup cashews.  You are should use peanuts instead of cashews, but I didn't.

I coated the chopped chicken thighs with the cornstarch. 

I heated up the sesame oil in a pan and fried the chicken until it wasn't pink.  This took as long as 7 minutes.

While it cooked I combined the rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar together.  

After seven minutes, I added the ginger, onions, garlic and red pepper to the cooked chicken.

I stir fried this for 15 seconds and removed it from the heat.  The recipe literally states 15 seconds.  I didn't actually count, but I'm sure I was close.  I added the soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar mixture and then put the pan on the heat again.  I'm not sure why removing it from the hot burner was necessary.

I added the cashews which should have been peanuts.  I heated everything thoroughly, and then it was finished. 

I think Americans under utilize curries and stir frying.   The results can be amazing, yet they are so quick and easy.  

This Kung Pao Chicken recipe was toothsome and mouthwatering.  It was savory and a little spicy.

The chicken was perfectly cooked.  I could tell from the smell alone that it was going to be delicious.

I would suggest you make this dish.  I know I will make it again!

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