Recipe summitted by Laura Schneider, staff member at Empowerment
This quick stir-fry is one of the most popular exports from the region of Szechuan, China. Charred dried chili peppers give breathtaking fire to tender morsels of chicken. In China, the peppers are eaten along with the chicken, but unless you like very hot food, you may prefer to set them aside. Watch the chili peppers closely as they cook. If they burn, they release potent volatile oils which sting the nose and eyes.
In a bowl, combine corn starch, sherry, salt, and pepper. Add chicken and stir to coat, then stir in 1 Tbsp. of the oil and let stand for 15 minutes to marinate. Prepare Cooking Sauce and set aside.
Heat a wok oar wide frying pan over medium heat. When pan is hot, add 1 Tbsp. of the oil. Add whole peppers and peanuts and cook, stirring, until peppers just begin to char. (If peppers become completely black, discard. Remove peanuts from pan and repeat with new peppers and peanuts.) Remove from pan and set aside.
Add remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to pan and increase heat to high. When oil begins to heat, add garlic and ginger. Stir once, then add chicken and stir-fry until chicken is opaque (about 3 minutes). Add peppers, peanuts, and onion to pan. Stir cooking sauce, add to pan, and cook, stirring, until sauce bubbles and thickens. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Cooking Sauce. In a bowl, combine:
I'm originally from a small town in Minnesota. Growing up, spicy foods were NOT on anyone's menus within a 75 mile radius. I was semi-adventurous with my eating, but not until 1999, when I studied abroad in Szechuan, China did my taste buds begin their journey to find the best tasting and spiciest food out there.
We were spoiled, restaurant after restaurant lined the university roads, with one or two card tables each with their tiny stools. Dish after dish was more delicious than the next. The hot pot (boiling oils and spices you cook raw veggies and meats in), dumplings so tender and juicy, noodles of all making, and one of my favorites was made extra special from one of my favorite female proprietors, Zoe JJ. She was feisty and fiery, like her food.
When I returned to the states, I had trouble finding places that would cook the food like I had in China. For Christmas, I received a cookbook that had this recipe in it, and it rocks. Enjoy!
Kung Pao Chicken: recipe summitted by Laura Schneider, staff member at Empowerment