Kung Pao Chicken
This Sichuan dish—often better known by its Americanized name "kung pao chicken"—is full of flavor but only moderately spicy.
Yield: serves 4
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 4 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- 3 tbsp. shaoxing (Chinese rice wine)
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 3 tbsp. chicken stock
- 4 tsp. Chinkiang vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp. Asian sesame oil
- 2 tsp. Chinese dark soy sauce
- 3 tbsp. peanut oil
- 12 dried hot red chiles, stemmed, halved crosswise, and seeded
- 5 scallions, white part only, thickly sliced crosswise
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled, ends trimmed off, and thinly sliced
- 1 (1/2") piece of ginger, peeled and minced
- 1⁄2 cup shelled raw skinless peanuts
- Mix together cornstarch and 1 tbsp. of the soy sauce in a medium bowl, add chicken, toss well, and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the remaining 3 tbsp. soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, stock, vinegar, sesame oil, and dark soy sauce. Set aside.
- Heat peanut oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add chiles, half the scallions, garlic, ginger, and chicken and stir-fry until chicken is golden, 3–5 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture and stir-fry until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Stir in peanuts. Garnish with remaining scallions.