An outstandingly flavorful Chinese delicacy, the Kung Pao chicken is that addictive dish which you can never have enough! Make this restaurant style Kung Pao chicken at your own risk!
This Kung Pao chicken happened in the most unplanned way! And when I think of it, I cannot help but admit that mostly all the unplanned dishes turned out to be surprisingly mind blowing; sometimes even much better than the carefully planned recipes! Even though chicken breast is not our favorite portion of meat, I still keep them handy for some quick fixes of weeknight meals like one-pot pastas or noodles; but this time chicken breast got an even better makeover in this mouth-watering Kung Pao chicken which is one of the popular Chinese delicacies and most-ordered chicken dish in any Chinese take-aways. This suggestion of Kung Pao chicken came from my better half which was little surprising initially as he is not too fond of Chinese style chicken made with various combination of sweet and tangy sauces.
My better half, being a spice lover looks for strong spicy flavor and thus inclines more towards the spicy kebabs and grills. Kung Pao chicken is one of the spiciest Chinese dishes and is strongly flavored with Schezwan peppercorns and many dry red chillies; well I mean a way too many! That is the very reason he liked this recipe and suggested me to try making it. We have had Kung Pao chicken in couple of Chinese food joints but my homemade version proved to be much better and way too addictive. You can make a saucy version of Kung Pao chicken and serve it with rice. But, like many other Chinese chicken recipes, we loved to savor this as appetizer. You can take your pick as there is obviously no hard & fast rule!
Kung Pao chicken is full of toasted peanuts which is the distinguishing factor of Kung Pao chicken and it definitely deserves honorable mention. The crunch added by the peanuts is the perfect complement to the soft and succulent cubes of chicken. We simply loved this combination and that gave me many new ideas for using nuts in other dishes for that extra crunch! Kung Pao chicken is another stir-fry chicken dish which is ideal for a weeknight meal. If you are bored of the regular chicken stir-fry and want to try something new, then you must give this a try. It is not only different but may also become another all-time favorite of yours especially if you are in as much love as us with spicy food.
An authentic Kung Pao chicken demands Shaoxing wine which lends additional flavor to the final dish. If you can get your hands on Shaoxing wine, then do add a tablespoon of this Chinese cooking wine to the sauce for that extra boost of Chinese flavor. I could not yet find it here and still looking for it. Nevertheless, even without this specialized ingredient, this Kung Pao chicken is good enough to knock you out! Also, you may replace chicken breast with boneless cubes of chicken thighs which would enhance the taste of Kung Pao chicken even further. Since mine was totally unplanned, I made my Kung Pao chicken with chicken breast which also turned out quite well thanks to the delicious Kung Pao sauce. Try making this at home and thank me later! Enjoy!
- Boneless and skinless chicken breast – 2 (about 400 gms)
- Peanuts – ¼ cup
- Green bell pepper – 1, medium
- Dry red chilli – 8 to 10
- Green onion or leek – 1 cup, chopped
- Vegetable oil – 4 tbsp
- Egg – 1
- Cornflour – 3 tbsp
- Soy sauce – 2 tbsp
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rice wine vinegar – 1 tbsp
- Soy sauce – 2 tbsp
- Red chilli sauce – 2 tbsp
- Brown sugar – 2 tbsp
- Water – 2 tbsp
- Cornflour – 2 tbsp
- Wash and pat dry the chicken breasts. Cut them into 1 inch cubes.
- Mix all ingredients listed under marinade and add the chicken cubes to it. Mix well. Let them marinade for 30 minutes.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a wok. When the oil is hot, add the peanuts and fry them until dark and crispy. Take them out and put on an absorbent kitchen towel and sprinkle some salt.
- Next add the dry red chillies to the hot wok and saute them until glossy. Take them out and reserve with the peanuts.
- Now fry the chicken cubes in batches until dark and cooked through. Take them out and set aside in a bowl.
- While the chicken is being cooked, mix all the sauce ingredients. Cut the bell pepper into thin strips about 1 inch long. Chop the green onion or leek finely.
- Once all the chicken cubes are cooked, keep them aside. Then add the chopped green onion (or leek) and the bell pepper to the wok. Saute them on high heat for 5 minutes until soft.
- Add the prepared sauce, fried chicken cubes, peanuts and dry red chillies. Toss everything well to coat with the sauce. Serve hot with sticky rice!