Chinese New Year and Kung Pao Chicken. Today we welcome in the Chinese New Year 2019 the year of the pig. This year to celebrate I have made a trio of Sichuan inspired dishes. A vegetarian Mapo tofu, spicy Sichuan Salt and Pepper Prawns and today’s recipe the classic Kung Pao Chicken. Now you should beware many western versions of this lack the serious dual hit of fiery red chilli and the mouth tingling Sichuan pepper. In fact Sichuan peppers were banned from America for quite sometime? The US version is often just a variant of General Tso’s Chicken with carrots, onions and bell peppers in a sweet and sour sauce. You will find Western versions are often much tamer than the authentic dish.
Why is it called Kung Pao Chicken?
Kung Pao chicken ( 宫保鸡丁 ) is believed to be named after a Governor of Sichuan province who held the official title ‘ Gongbao ‘ or palace guardian. I’m sure you have seen the similarity already. Because of this Imperial connection it was renamed during the famous Cultural Revolution. The new name was the rather less catchy ‘ fast fried chicken cubes ‘. It’s more famous name was restored in the nineteen eighties.
Authentic Kung Pao Chicken
You make real thing from stir-fried soy marinated chicken, leeks and raw peanuts. Your flavour comes from Sichuan peppercorns and red chillies. They are first heated in hot oil with perhaps some ginger and garlic. Then you serve the finished dish with simply steamed rice.
Happy Chinese New Year
If you find my Sichuan recipes a little too fierce remember you can always reduce the amount of Sichuan peppercorns
Kung Pao Chicken
- 500 gram boneless Chicken Thighs diced
- 1 large Leek washed and sliced
- 100 gram Raw Peanuts peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- 6 large dried Red Chillies crumbled
- 3 cloves Garlic peeled and crushed
- 5 cm piece Ginger peeled and grated
- 1 heaped teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns crushed
- 1 Spring Onion finely sliced
- 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese Rice Wine
- 2 teaspoons Cornflour
- First marinade the chicken by placing the diced thigh pieces in a bowl and sprinkling with the cornflour. Stir well then add the soy sauce and rice wine and stir again.
- Heat the oil in a wok and the Sichuan peppercorns and chillies, fry for twenty seconds and then add the peanuts. Fry for two minutes.
- Add the chicken and the leeks, stir fry for three to four minutes then add the garlic and ginger, mix well.
- Pour in the Hoisin sauce and a splash of water and mix to coat the other ingredients. Cook for another two or three minutes until the thigh meat is cooked through.
- Remove from the heat, garnish with spring onions and serve.