Kung Pao Chicken Stir-Fry

Kung Pao Chicken Stir Fry

Details

A stir-fry with a bit of heat. Dried red chilies, tender chicken, crunchy peanuts and crisp water chestnuts are tossed together in a flavorful sauce.
  • Serves: 2 to 4
  • Active Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Views: 30,087
  • Success: 94%

Steps

Step 1: Marinating the Chicken

• 2 chicken breasts
• 2 tbsp soy sauce
• 2 tbsp Shao Hsing rice wine (or dry sherry)
• 2 tsp cornstarch
• 1 tsp sesame oil

Method

Dice the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Place into a bowl and add the soy sauce, rice vinegar and cornstarch. Stir to combine, making sure the cornstarch dissolves completely. Add the oil and stir again to evenly coat. Let marinate for 20 minutes.

Step 2: Preparing the Sauce

• 1 tbsp granulated sugar
• 1 tsp black vinegar
• 1/4 cup chicken stock
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tsp Shao Hsing rice wine (or dry sherry)
• 1 tsp cornstarch
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• 2 tsp sambal oelek

Method

To make the sauce, stir all of the ingredients together, making sure the cornstarch dissolves completely. Set aside.

Step 3: Preparing Your Mise en Place

• 3 to 5 dried, red chilies
• 1 tbsp ginger (about 1" -inch)
• 1 tbsp garlic (about 3 to 5 cloves)
• 2 green onions
• 3/4 cup water chestnuts
• 3/4 cup roasted peanuts

Method

To prepare your mise en place, snip the bottom of the dried chilies in half. Mince the garlic and ginger. Thinly slice the green onions.

Note: If you can, use fresh water chestnuts. They are superior in flavor and texture. To prepare the water chestnuts, simply cut off the top and bottom and peel the exterior with a vegetable peeler. Place into cold water to prevent them from oxidizing. Drain and dice just before using.

Roughly chop the nuts and set aside.

Step 4: Stir-Frying the Dish

• 1 to 2 tbsp peanut oil

Method

Drain the excess marinade from the chicken. To stir-fry the dish, line the ingredients up in the proper cooking order. Heat a wok over high heat. Once hot, cook the stir-fry according to the basic steps in the lesson. Feel free to add a touch more oil during the stir-frying process, if needed.

Stir-fry the chicken — transfer to a plate. Add the dried chilies — followed by the ginger, garlic and water chestnuts. Return the chicken and juices to the wok. Add the sauce. Stir-fry until just cooked through. Add the green onions and peanuts. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

15 Comments

  • Christian J
    Christian J
    How different is Shaoxing rice wine from Japanese Mirin? I've not been able to track down Shaoxing where I live, so I've used Mirin instead (for a similar, but not identical recipe - I don't use stock or chestnuts). The result I achieve is very good, but I wonder if Shaoxing would lift it even more. Maybe I can get it online somewhere? For a slightly numbing (and authentic) touch to this dish, add one teaspoon of Szechuan peppercorns. I remove the seeds and only use the husks, crushed in a mortar.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Shao Hsing or Shaoxing rice wine, is a Chinese rice wine, while Mirin is a Japanese rice wine. Mirin is also quite sweet and if often thought of as the sugar element in Japanese cooking. It is used not generally consumed as a beverage, while Shao Hsing rice wine can be. Mirin has a flavor similar to a sweet sake. While Shao Hsing has a flavor similar to sherry. In fact, if you cannot find Shao Hsing, a dry sherry can be used instead. Shao Hsing rice wine can be found in many Chinese grocery and/or liquor stores. And as you mentioned, it can also be purchased on line. It is worth it to seek it out as it really does add a nice flavor to many stir-fry sauces. Pagoda is thought to be a good brand. Hope that helps. Cheers!
  • Christian J
    Christian J
    Thanks Dawn. I guess the problem is the alcohol content. In Norway, any beverage with more than 5% alcohol can only be sold by state liquor stores :( Mirin is readily available in a non-alcoholic version. In any event, your response inspired me to email the local state liquor store to see if they can get a hold of the good stuff. If that doesn't work I'll look online.
  • Christian J
    Christian J
    State liquor store tells me my only option is to find a distributor and do a personal import through the state liquor store, which will cost me $1000+ :( Via Twitter, I found another Norwegian Chinese cuisine enthusiast, and she gets her fix whenever she's in London. Oh well. Next question, can you recommend me a sherry to use in its place? I've only ever bought one bottle of sherry, and that was an oloroso, which is the sweet kind.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Any dry sherry would work. It's hard to say the exact sherry to use as you may not have the same brands available to you as we do here. If you ask at your local liquor store they should be able to help you with that. Ask them for a dry fino sherry, perhaps an Amontillado. Also, note that shaoxing rice wine can be purchased online. Here are just a couple of placed that I found it http://www.waitrose.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductView-10317-10001-66261-Waitrose+CI+Rice+wine+shaoxing.html?storeId=10317 http://www.amazon.com/SHAOHSING-RICE-COOKING-WINE-2x750ML/dp/B006QYNLKU/ref=sr_1_1?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1350920981&sr=1-1&keywords=Shaoxing+rice+wine You may also want to call your local Chinese restaurant to see where they purchase theirs. Cheers!
  • Christian J
    Christian J
    Thanks again for your suggestions, Dawn. I took your advise and asked around at some restaurants. Am now waiting for an email from a distributor that one of the restaurants got their Shaoxing from. If this works I owe you a chinese meal :)
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Yeah, happy that you might get your hands on some! I hope you find it, and not just so I can come for dinner :-)
  • Christian J
    Christian J
    Restaurants led me to an importer, which eventually led me to realize how tightly alcohol is regulated in Norway. So, no dice :( But I'm going to Denmark in a week, and already located an Asian marked near the airport that sells the wine. Will post experience report after making Gong bao with proper Shaoxing in a week+!
  • Christian J
    Christian J
    Last night I finally cooked this dish with proper Shao xing wine. The wine has an interesting aroma. As the chicken cooked, it developed an almost nutty aroma which went very well with the peanuts. One of my favorite dishes just got a little better, and now I have plenty of wine on hand :)
  • Daniel R
    Daniel R
    I really enjoyed reading about your food quest Christian :)
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Yeah, so glad to hear that you liked the wine after all that. I also love that you went to the effort of hunting it down. Enjoy!
  • Christian J
    Christian J
    I'm happy to entertain Daniel :) I was planning to write down a comparison of this recipe with two others based being a huge fan of the dish, cooking it frequently, and having tried the recipes side by side. However, I recently worked through the stir-frying lessons, learning that everything about my woking up to this point was wrong... I'll get back with feedback when I've repeated my experiment with proper equipment and techniques. Hope I don't run out of Shaoxing in the process :)
  • Lydia S
    Lydia S
    Just wanted to say a huge thank you for this recipe! For a long time, my husband and I played around with different ways to make anything that tasted remotely like our local take-out to no avail. That was until I made this for the first time! We literally make it at least once a week now, and every time we visit any relatives they beg me to make it as well. It is SO good, and honestly seems to get better with each time we make it. I have added a variety of different veggies too at different times, depending on what I have one hand, (tonight was broccoli since I was out of water chestnuts and corn..) and it still comes out great every time!!! Thanks so much!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    So glad that you like the recipe Lydia and thanks for sharing your feedback as well. Cheers!
  • Tom J
    Tom J
    I followed the recipe closely & served it to 2 international student from China, they ate it heartily (the man had 2 generous helpings)! They gave me the best compliment by telling me that it was "real China, Chinese food"! I was also asked for the recipe!! I should also say that the only changes I made to the recipe was using Mirin instead of Shao Hsing plus I threw in a couple more dried red chilies to spice it up a bit. Thanks Rouxbe!!!!

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