I cannot remember the last time I ordered some really good Kung Pao Chicken. It’s probably been over a year since I even stepped into a Panda Express for some tasty, but not so healthy take-out. I guess it is a natural progression when you start cooking more at home with health in mind.
My inspiration for my dish came from an Epicurious post in July 2013, a recipe by Diana Kuan, author of The Chinese Takeout Cookbook, 2012 Ballantine Books. I used more commonly found ingredients and added the green beans in order to make it a one dish meal. The chicken was tender and slightly spicy and the green beans had a nice crunch to them. I cheated and used organic packaged frozen white rice, but this is optional. Chinese food is one cuisine I cannot eat without a little white rice!
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon dry sherry
- 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 pound chicken breast tenderloins, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons organic high heat canola oil
- 10 dried red chilies
- ½ pound French green beans, cut 1-inch long pieces
- 3 green onions, white and green parts separated and thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- ⅓ cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
- Packaged frozen white or brown rice, prepared according to package instructions, (optional)
- Make the marinade using a medium bowl. Stir together soy sauce, sherry, and corn starch, until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add the chicken, toss gently to coat. At room temperate, let stand for 10 minutes.
- Using another bowl, make the sauce. Combine vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sugar, corn starch and pepper. Stir, until sugar and cornstarch are combined and dissolved. Set aside.
- Over high heat, heat a wok or large frying pan. The pan is at the right temperature when a bead of water sizzles and evaporates upon contact. Add 1 tablespoon oil and coat the base of wok or pan. Add green beans and stir-fry, until beans are heated through and tender crisp. Transfer beans to a dish and cover to keep warm.
- Heat wok or pan again over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and coat the base of wok or pan. Add chilies, stir-fry for about 30 seconds, until oil is slightly fragrant. Be careful not to burn the chilies. Add the chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the “white” part of green onions, garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the green beans. Pour in just enough sauce to coat the ingredients. Mix in the peanuts and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the rest of the green onions. Serve with white rice or healthy brown rice, if desired. 4 servings.