Kung Pao Chicken
Kung Pao means 'guardian of the throne'. Legend has it that this dish was named for a general—one of the throne's guardians—who woke up hungry one night and commanded a snack. The chef had only leftover chicken and peanuts. Afraid to put leftovers before his master, the chef added lots of seasonings to mask the chicken's staleness and threw in the peanuts for good measure. The general loved it!
12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vinegar
Few dashes bottled red pepper hot sauce
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons finely minced gingerroot
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
6 green onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
Hot cooked rice for accompaniment
- Rinse chicken; pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 3/4-inch pieces. In a medium bowl, stir together chicken, sherry, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Let stand for 15 minutes.
- For sauce, in a small bowl stir together water, soy sauce, 4 teaspoons cornstarch, sugar, vinegar, and hot pepper sauce. Set aside.
- Add oil to a wok or large skillet. Preheat over medium-high heat (add more oil if necessary during cooking). Stir-fry gingerroot and garlic in hot oil for 15 seconds. Add chicken mixture. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender and no longer pink. Push chicken from center of wok.
- Stir sauce; add to center of wok. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add green onion pieces and peanuts. Stir all ingredients together to coat. Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes more or until heated through.
- Serve immediately with hot cooked rice.
Makes 4 servings.