Kung Pao Chicken

Fun fact of the day from the all knowing Wikipedia: Kung Pao chicken originated from Sichuan (not P.F. Chang’s?!). The most important component of the dish is handfuls of Sichuan peppercorns, which give authentic Kung Pao chicken its distinctive numbing flavor.

Apparently, from 1968 until 2005, it was illegal to import Sichuan peppercorns into the US out of fear of being potential carriers of citrus canker, a tree disease which harm citrus crops. The ban has now been lifted thanks to new processing methods, but the 37-year ban resulted in a distinct American version of the recipe that does not incorporate Sichuan peppercorns.

Too bad I don’t have any of those peppercorn…so I guess this is the Westernized version lol. Adapted from Allrecipes

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into chunks
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch, dissolved in 1:2 tablespoons water
2 ounces hot chile paste
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon brown sugar
8 green onions, chopped 2 tablespoons
chopped garlic
chopped peanuts

To Make Marinade: Combine in a ratio of 1 tablespoon wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water mixture and mix together (I used 3-4 tablespoons each). Place chicken pieces in a glass dish or bowl and add marinade. Toss to coat. Cover dish and place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

To Make Sauce: In a small bowl combine in a ratio of 1 tablespoon wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water mixture, chili paste, vinegar and sugar. Mix together and add green onion, garlic, water chestnuts and peanuts.

In a medium skillet, heat sauce slowly until aromatic. Meanwhile, remove chicken from marinade and saute in a large skillet until meat is white and juices run clear. When sauce is aromatic, add sauteed chicken to it and let simmer together until sauce thickens.

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