Kung Pao Chicken. Almost all Chinese recipes that require a marinade of meat include cornstarch in the marinade. This is fine until you drop it in sizzling oil, where it always gets all gummy and coats the bottom of the cooking pot or wok with gluey hard gunk that I don’t like.
So I don’t include the cornstarch in the marinade of my Kung Pao Chicken. I include it at the end to thicken the sauce. I also include a lot of vegetables in the dish, and you can use whatever you have on hand. I’ll include what I usually use, but as I said, it has more to do with what’s on hand.
This chicken dish is quite hot, but you can adjust the number of chilies that will suit your preference and adjust it to be a little hot. The best thing about this Kung Pao Chicken is that it is easy, quick, and delicious! Perfect for a weeknight dinner meal!
Quick And Easy Kung Pao Chicken
For Kung Pao Chicken:
- 1 pound chicken breast skinless, boneless, or thigh cut into bite-size bits
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 pieces dried red chiles
- 5 stalks scallions sliced
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 1 tablespoon ginger grated
- ½ cup peanuts unsalted, dry-roasted
For The Marinade:
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon rice wine or dry sherry
For The Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar Chinese black vinegar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
- 4 cups assorted veggies cleaned and suitably cut up into bite-size pieces. (carrots, cabbage, celery, bok choy, bean sprouts, broccoli)
- Marinate the chicken in the marinade for at least 15 minutes.
- Prepare the sauce leaving out the cornstarch and placing it in just before you are ready to pop it into the pan to coat the food.
- Take your chiles and make slits in them so some of the dried seeds can escape and become part of the dish. Don’t do this if you don’t like heat.
- Add the oil to the pan and saute the chiles until they start to darken. On high heat, add the chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink. This doesn’t take long– 2-3 minutes is usually enough.
- Remove the chicken and add your veggies, starting with the longest cooking until they are all in and crunchy but done. Remove the chicken.
- Add the scallions, garlic and ginger, and stir fry for a minute or so.
- Add the sauce (having added the cornstarch now, stirring until it thickens. Pour in the chicken and veggies and stir to coat.
- Add the peanuts and stir. Place on a serving dish and sprinkle additional scallions and peanuts on top.
- Serve over rice.