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Kung Pao Chicken

not for wimps

This recipe goes together very quickly, so cut up all the vegetables before you start or something will burn. It is very spicy; cooking this can clear your sinuses so if you have a hood over your range you would be very wise to use it. Surprisingly, this version of Kung Pao Chicken is both low-carbohydrate and low-fat, making it dietetic no matter what weight-loss regime you're on.

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 chicken breasts, skinned, boned and cut thin strips
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 2 or 3 dried chiles[*]
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, shelled peanuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 medium red or green bell pepper cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • 3 green onions, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

In a small mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, wine, and ginger. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 20 minutes.

Heat the oil in a wok. Add the chile peppers and cook over medium high heat until browned. Remove and discard. (For a hot dish, break the peppers while cooking and retain the seeds.) Add the peanuts and garlic. Stir frequently and cook until the peanuts are browned, about 1 minute. Remove the nuts from the pan and set them aside. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the marinade and cook in the same pan. Cook until slightly browned and remove them from the pan. Add the bell peppers and onions to the pan and cook until crisp-tender (about 1 to 2 minutes). Add the water and cornstarch to the reserved marinade. Stir to dissolve the cornstarch. Pour over the bell peppers and onions in the pan. Add the chicken and peanuts. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture becomes glossy and thick. Serve over rice. This makes 2 very large or 3 medium sized servings.

[*] 1 Tablespoon dried red chiles may be substituted. Add the chiles to the oil with the peanuts and do not worry about removing them.

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