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Recipe for Kung Pao Chicken. A quick and easy spicy Asian inspired dish, ideal for weeknight meals.
Why order takeout when you can get a home cooked meal on the table is the same time it takes to go pick it up.
Kung Pao chicken is fairly spicy. It is spicy enough that it might make your nose run.
This might explain why it is a Chinese restaurant favorite.
Chicken, peanuts, hot chili paste, soy sauce and black vinegar is a great flavor combination.
Tred lightly with the chili paste if spicy food isn’t your thing.
I start with about a tablespoon and add more as I need.
My needs really depend on who I am feeding.
Young kids and those not accustomed to spicy food get 1 tablespoon, if I am cooking for just me and will be eating it for a few dinners and lunches it gets closer to 3 tablespoons.
If my nose isn’t running, it isn’t spicy enough.
Mine has to be served with a serving of rice to cool off a bit of that heat.
I use Sambal Oelek because it is readily available in my local Asian markets.
It is also a great substitute or step-up from Srirachi Hot Chili sauce.
With that being said, Sriracha or other chili pastes can be substituted if you have a preferred sauce.
I use black rice vinegar in this dish because I tend to use it for most of my Asian cooking that calls for vinegar.
Black vinegar has more depth of flavor.
You could almost make a comparison of regular vinegar to Balsamic vinegar, so think of black rice vinegar as regular rice vinegar’s counterpart.
My sweet and sour sauce and apricot sauce I use with our different egg rolls are about the only places I still use regular white vinegar or white rice vinegar because I don’t like the murky coloring black rice vinegar adds.
Cook’s info has a lot of information on black vinegar and its substitutions, you can learn more here.
Kung Pao Chicken
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch divided
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil divided
- 6 tablespoons soy sauce divided
- 2 to 4 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 1/2 cups water divided
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chili paste Sambal Oelek, more to taste if desired
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup black vinegar
- 6 greens onions
- 3 tablespoons crushed garlic
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts chopped
- Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.
- Place chicken pieces in a bowl.
- Mix 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil and soy sauce in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cornstarch over chicken and toss chicken to coat.
- Pour sesame and soy sauce mixture over the top and gently toss chicken.
- Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes but not longer than 4 hours.
- In another small bowl add 1/4 cup soy sauce, ½ tablespoon sesame oil, ¼ cup chili paste, 1/4 cup brown sugar, garlic, 1/4 black vinegar and 1 cup of the water. Set aside.
- Heat cooking oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Once hot, add chicken and sear the meat. Remove from pan. The chicken will finish cooking in the sauce.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add the sauce that has been set aside.
- Bring sauce to a simmer, add chicken bouillon cube and allow to cook for 15 minutes.
- Add chicken and green onions. Reduce heat to low and cook until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.
- Mix cornstarch with last half cup of water.
- Bring chicken mixture to a boil and add cornstarch and water slurry. Cook for 1 minute or until mixture has thickened.
- Remove from heat and top with chopped peanuts before serving.
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