Sunday 14 February 2021

Kung Pao Chicken

 Kung Pao Chicken

Chinese cuisine has many regional varieties to pick and choose from. India and Pakistan, and possibly Sri Lanka and the UAE, have their versions made up by the populace's favourites. 

The adapted and adopted Szechuan, Sichuan. Szechwan Chinese regional cuisine is possibly the most popular and easily available, followed by Hakka. This is largely due to the food flavours having a hint of spice that is more popular with the Subcontinental palate. The levels of heat added vary once again, largely depending on who it is being prepared for, especially in the restaurants serving the local community. The Chinese may not necessarily approve of this adaptation. 

Kung Pao-borrowed from Gong Bao, or the palace guardian, this word now refers to a spicy stir-fried chicken in cubes. It also refers to the sauce that makes the dish. 

The key ingredients referred to are the peanuts, chillies, and chicken, which make this dish.

To further enhance this dish, the Chinese restaurant kitchens call the marinating process velveting. This seals the juices to keep the chicken moist and makes each piece tender to eat. 

Sichuan peppercorns are toasted and ground to be added to the mix.

Serves 6 

1 kg/ 2.2 lb boneless, cubed, chicken pieces.


Mix together 
1/2 tbsp cornstarch or corn flour
A pinch of salt
A pinch of baking soda
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine, sake or rice wine vinegar alternately use egg white
Toss the chicken in this for 10 minutes before frying.
Oil to fry
Heat the oil and fry the chicken pieces a few at a time. Ensure they are evenly browned all over. 
For Kung Pao sauce, you will need a cupful or more for the quantity of chicken.  
1 leek, finely diced, or 3 spring onions
Toast fry
8 dry, thin, long red chillies
6 cloves of garlic
1 piece of ginger the size of a thumb
mix in 
2 tbsp sherry, shaoxing wine, or rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp hoisin sauce, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and 1/2 cup chicken broth are optional.
With an emulsion blender, grind this together and once cooked, add 1/2 tsp of ground sichuan peppercorn powder.
In a wok, saute` and toast
A few hand-chopped peanuts
1 cup diced red or green capsicum peppers
1 cup of vegetables of choice—carrots, zucchini, and celery
Add the fried chicken 
Pour the sauce over. Bring it to a boil. Add chicken stock or water to bring it to the right consistency and serve immediately with sticky white rice.

1 tbsp ground sichuan peppers = 1 tsp powder

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.

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