Get More Wow with Homemade Kung Pao
Kung Pao Chicken
(Family Features) - Kung Pao, a classic wok-prepared dish from China's Sichuan Province, was named to honor a 19th Century Chinese official whose title was actually Gong Ba, meaning "palatial guardian." Today it is a popular item on the menus of Szechuan-style restaurants here in the U.S. Restaurant critics often use the quality of Kung Pao's hot and tangy sauce as a measure of the chef's skills.
As is true of many Chinese dishes, the most difficult part of the recipe is in the sauce, and making it can be daunting for the home cook. But now, dishes such as Kung Pao Chicken are easy to make at home when using a purchased bottled sauce, such as Annie Chun's Kung Pao sauce. Traditional Kung Pao sauce is made with naturally brewed soy sauce, roasted sesame oil, ginger, garlic and chili.
When compared to dining out, this is a budget friendly dish that will please a hungry family and add some Asian flair to a week's line-up of dinners. The recipe below is an easy jumping off point for basic Kung Pao and can be made with many variations such as substituting tofu for chicken for a vegetarian entree, or by adding more seasonal fresh vegetables for color, fiber and nutrition.
For more recipes and tips for using Annie Chun's products, visit www.anniechuns.com.
Kung Pao Chicken
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/3 cup water chestnuts
- 2-3 dried red chiles (or 1/2 teaspoon chile powder)
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
- 1/3 cup Annie Chun's Kung Pao sauce
- 1 chopped green onions
- Heat one tablespoon oil in wok over high heat. Stir fry chicken until meat is thoroughly cooked and set aside. Add remaining tablespoon oil to wok, heat and then add onion and water chestnuts and any other vegetables you might like to add; cook until fragrant. Return cooked chicken to wok, and add chili, peanuts, and sauce. Toss until heated through. Garnish with green onion. Serve over steamed rice.
Serves 3 to 4
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
In place of chicken, use seafood such as fresh shrimp or small bay scallops.
For a heartier version, use thinly sliced beef flank steak strips and a diced green or red bell pepper.
For vegetarian Kung Pao, use cubed firm tofu and a mix of vegetables such as diced colorful sweet pepper, snow peas or green beans.
For even cooking, be sure to cut vegetables into similar sized pieces and choose combinations of vegetables that cook in about the same amount of time.
Choose brown or sprouted brown rice to get whole grains into the meal.
Double or triple the recipe for an easy party entrée and plan on about one cup of cooked rice per person. Place rice on large round or oval platter and place Kung Pao over the rice. Garnish with some extra chopped, roasted peanuts.
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