This popular dish is packed with peanuts, chicken and of course, plenty of spice.
Ever wonder how Kung Pao Chicken came to be? Well, let me tell you…
Once upon a time in the deep forests of China during the Qing Dynasty lived a boy named Ding Baozhen (pronounced "Ting Pao-chen"). Young Ding loved to play outside, especially down by the river. One day while playing by the bank of the river he lost his footing and fell into the river. Hearing his cry for help, a nearby family rushed to his rescue and managed to pull him to safety. They carried the unconscious boy home to his parents.
Years later, Ding became the governor of Sichuan. Though now a powerful leader, Ding never forgot the about the family who saved his life and sent out a query to find them. Once they were located, Ding Baozhen paid the family a visit so he could finally thank them. Now, the province of Sichuan is known for its fine cuisine and this family, hearing of his coming visit, wanted to treat the governor to a special meal. They combined chicken and peanuts in a sweet and spicy sauce and served it to Ding Baozhen who declared it "delicious".
Governor Baozhen's official title was Gong Bao, pronounced "kung-pao" (meaning “palatial guardian”), and it was after him that this dish was named. Kung Pao Chicken would go on to become one of the most beloved and popular Chinese dishes throughout China and the Western world. And the people of the world ate Kung Pao Chicken and lived happily ever after.
To make Kung Pao Chicken home, first gather up your ingredients.
Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the chicken. Toss to coat the chicken and set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
Then combine all the sauce ingredients in another bowl and stir until the cornstarch and sugar are dissolved. Set aside.
Slice the green onions, keeping the white and green parts separate (the white parts have a longer cooking time), and mince the garlic and ginger.
Using gloves, carefully deseed the chili peppers and discard the seeds and membranes.
These chilies are very hot! Unless you like your food super hot, go easy on the number of chilies you use.
Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat and fry the chilies for a few seconds until they darken in color. The oil will turn a reddish hue and be infused with heat and chili flavor.
Add the chicken and cook until it's no longer pink.
Add the whites of the green onions along with the garlic and ginger and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Pour in the sauce and stir until thickened.
Reduce the heat to medium-high, stir in the peanuts and simmer for one minute.
Remove from heat and stir in the green onions.
Your Kung Pao Chicken is ready in less than 10 minutes!
Serve immediately with steamed rice and a glass of ice water.
For more Pao-licious dishes visit Kimberly's food blog The Daring Gourmet.