Saturday, March 30, 2019

Kung Pao Chicken

I made this Christine Gallary recipe for my two BFF's (Steve and Becky) this week. It was a real hit. It comes together quickly....perfect for a weeknight dinner. As is typical of Chinese dishes, the majority of time required in this meal is the prep....the actual cooking part is quite fast. But, oh, what a dish.

A few notes about ingredients. I used red and yellow bell peppers as they are sweeter than green peppers. And I recommend dry roasted peanuts for this dish as the extra crunch is fantastic.


For the Chicken and Sauce
1-1/2 pounds boneless. skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sherry or vermouth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1-1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons Samba Oelek or chile-garlic paste

For the Stir Fry
3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
2 medium bell peppers cut into 1-inch dice
2 celery stalk's, sliced
Kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
2 medium scallions, thinly sliced
Steamed rice for serving


  1. Place the chicken in a medium bowl. Place the soy sauce, sherry or vermouth, cornstarch, sesame oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until the cornstarch is dissolved. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the mixture over the chicken and toss to combine; set the chicken aside.
  2. Make the sauce. Add the vinegar, sugar, and sambal oelek to the remaining marinade and whisk until the sugar is dissolved; set this sauce aside.
  3. Heat a flat-bottomed wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat until very hot (a flick of water should sizzle and evaporate right away), about 2 minutes. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of the oil, add the bell peppers and celery, and season with salt. Stir-fry with a metal spatula until crisp-tender and browned in spots, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons oil into the pan. Add the chicken and spread into an even layer. Let cook undisturbed until golden-brown and seared on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir-fry until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more.
  5. Add the reserved vegetables and peanuts to the pan. Rewhisk the reserved sauce to dissolve the cornstarch. Pour into the pan and stir-fry until the sauce thickens, is glossy, and evenly coats everything in the pan, about 1 minute more. Sprinkle with the scallions and serve immediately with rice.

Wine pairing: Sauvignon Blanc

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

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