Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁) is a traditional Sichuan dish made with chicken breast, peanuts, and chilly pepper. There are many stories about this dish, but they all related with a man called Ding Baozhen (丁宝桢), a governor of Sichuan province during the Qing dynasty. His official title was Gong Bao (Kung Pao), which translates as palace guardian.
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp corn starch
- 1 tsp Chinese cooking sherry/wine
- 1 green onion
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbs rice vinegar
- 1 tbs soy sauce
- 2 tbs water
- 1 tsb corn starch
- 250 g chicken breast
- 100 g roasted peanuts, shells/skins removed
- 4 green chili peppers
- 4 red chili peppers
- 6 dry chili peppers (or to taste)
- 15 Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Cut the chicken breast into 2 cm cubes. Add the chicken cubes into the marinade mixture, mix well and marinade for 20 minutes.
- Finely dice green onion, ginger and garlic. Mix the three with the other sauce ingredients and set aside (give it stir before using it).
- Heat vegetable oil and sesame oil in a wok on low setting, frying the Sichuan peppercorns until fragrant and the color darkens. Add dry chili pepper and continue frying for 10 more seconds.
- Stir in the chicken cubes, continuing to stir until the chicken turns white. Add the chopped green and red chili peppers, stir-fry for 10 seconds.
- Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the sauce. Mix well with the chicken. Continue stirring for 1 minute and then add the peanuts. Mix well and serve hot.
- For a more authentic dish, buy raw peanuts and deep fry them in a few tbsp of vegetable oil -- if you do this directly before step 3 in the instructions, you can then simply reserve 1 tbsp of oil for the rest of the cooking. Traditionally the dish is made this way, but roasted peanuts are typically easier to find.
- Marinade mixture makes the chicken tender and adds more flavor to it.
- This dish requires a quick succession of steps when frying, so pre-making the sauce before turning on the stove is very important.
- Low heat frying the Sichuan pepper corn can get the most fragrance out of it and won't burn it.