Kung Pao Chicken is a traditional Chinese chicken and vegetable dish. It originated in the Sichuan province of China. Kung Pao Chicken is on the menu of just about every Chinese restaurant. This is the Cooking Secrets For Men take on a classic Chinese dish.
This recipe is by request from my son Carlo and his friend Isiah. Homemade Kung Pao Sauce is spicy and full of sweet flavors. It is pretty simple to make.
VELVETING: THE TRICK TO KUNG PAO CHICKEN
One of the tricks that makes this Kung Pao Chicken recipe taste just like the authentic Chinese dish is using the velveting process. Velveting is a meat tenderizing technique used by Chinese restaurants. It’s very easy and it’s similar to marinating.
First, cover your chicken in the mixture of soy sauce, salt, pepper, sherry, cornstarch, and sugar. Set it aside for 10-20 minutes. Then, when you cook the chicken, the coating keeps the chicken crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Chicken Thighs also help this process. They don’t dry out as easily as chicken breasts.
- A Wok
- 4 boneless/skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 5 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or white vinegar
- 2 tbsp dry sherry or Shaoxing wine
- 2 tsp hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp hot chili sauce
- 4 tbsp cooking oil
- 2-3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp ginger chopped
- 4-6 dried chilies adjust to taste
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and cut into thin strips
- 8 oz Sugar snap peas
- 4 green onion cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup roasted/unsalted peanuts
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- First, combine chicken, salt, pepper, soy sauce, dry sherry, sugar, and cornstarch in a large bowl or plastic bag
- Toss to combine then cover it and set it aside for 10 minutes
- Whisk sauce ingredients together until sugar dissolves; set aside.
- Heat a large wok or skillet with 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, then add marinated chicken. Cook 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and return the pan to heat.
- Add remaining cooking oil into the same pan/wok. Stir in garlic, ginger, chili peppers and stir fry 1 minute.
- Add the veggies. Stir in peppers and sugar snap peas and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until just tender.
- Add the chicken back into the pan and toss to all the goodies to combine.
- Pour sauce into the pan and bring to a boil while stirring.
- Stir in green onions, peanuts and sesame oil. Toss well and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
• Dry sherry – just every day, dry sherry;
• Mirin – a Japanese sweet cooking wine
There are good reasons why everyone loves kung pao chicken. It has so many flavors going on: tangy, sweet, and salty with some heat. The trick is putting in the right amount of each ingredient to come up with that winning flavor combination. Hopefully, this recipe fits the bill.
Cooking Secrets for Men
Our e-Cookbook, Vol 1 “Sauces” is free and available to download. You can find it here. Vol 2 “Soups”, should be out soon.
If you liked this recipe, you should try our recipe for leftover Chinese Carryout rice
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