I absolutely adore Kung Pao Chicken. And once you’ve shopped at the Asian market for a few items, like bean sauce, the dish is ridiculously easy to put together. This was lunch today. I’m not sure why I don’t make this more often.
Here’s the recipe I use. Long ago I adapted it to suit our tastes from Rhoda Yee’s Szechwan & Northern Cooking, a much-loved and soy sauce-stained ancient tome from my cookbook collection which is now sadly out of print but which, I see, you can pick up used from Amazon for the princely sum of $0.26, plus shipping.
Kung Pao Chicken, adapted from Szechwan & Northern Cooking
4 chicken thighs, boned and cut into small cubes
2 teaspoons tapioca starch (can use cornstarch)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sherry
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 small green pepper, seeded and cut into cubes
2/3 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
3 teaspoons Hoisin sauce
3 teaspoons bean sauce
3 teaspoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon sugar
Combine sauce ingredients and set aside.
Combine marinade ingredients (starch, sesame oil, sherry, and soy sauce) and pour over chicken. Mix well. Allow to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Heat wok until hot. Add about ¼ cup oil and heat to medium hot. Fry peanuts until golden (note: this happens fast.) Remove peanuts and in the same oil stir fry the green pepper for 1 minute. Remove pepper. Add garlic and chicken. Stir fry until chicken becomes firm. Add sauce mixture and stir until well thickened. Add green peppers and peanuts and mix well.