Kung Pao Chicken (Gong Bao Ji Ding)

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Ready In: 30 mins
Serves: 2
Photo: Kung Pao Chicken (Gong Bao Ji Ding)

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.

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp Chinese cooking sherry/wine

Sauce

  • 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

Other ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Cut the chicken breast into 2 cm cubes. Add the chicken cubes into the marinade mixture, mix well and marinade for 20 minutes.
  2. Finely dice green onion, ginger and garlic. Mix the three with the other sauce ingredients and set aside (give it stir before using it).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Tips

  • 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.

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