Kung Pao Chicken
Salty, tangy and sweet, kung pao chicken traces its origin from China's Sichuan region where it is cooked with Sichuan peppercorns and dried chilies. The Guizhou version uses skin-on chicken fillets and fermented chili paste. Western versions are sweet and hardly spicy.This recipe which uses skin-on chicken fillets and includes chili paste in the sauce more closely resembles Guizhou kung pao chicken.
For the sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns (see notes after the recipe)
- ½ teaspoon chili paste
- Place the chicken cubes in a bowl, add all the ingredients for the marinade, mix well and set aside for ten minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix together all the ingredients for the sauce.
- In a wok heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of one-half inch.
- Spread the marinated chicken in the hot oil and cook over medium heat, turning the over a few times, until cooked through, about seven minutes.
- Scoop out the chicken and set aside.
- Pour off the oil leaving only two tablespoonfuls.
- Stir fry the white/light green portion of the scallions with the bell peppers for about half a minute.
- Add the peanuts and cook, stirring often, until heated through.
- Pour in the sauce and cook for about a minute until slightly reduced and thickened.
- Throw the chicken back into the wok and continue stir frying until every piece of chicken is coated with sauce.
- Tip the contents of the wok into a shallow bowl and sprinkle your kung pao chicken with the dark green portion of the scallions before serving.
For best results, toast Sichuan peppercorns in an oil-free pan before grinding and measuring.