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Recipe

Kung Pao Chicken

Servings: 4

Sichuan peppercorns give this dish a distinct citrusy aroma and earthy flavor. In this stir-fry, I like to use Big Red Pao or Hanyuan Sichuan Pepper.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thigh or breast, cut into 1/4-inch-thick bite-size slices
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs. chicken broth
  • 1 Tbs. black or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. Asian sesame oil
  • 5 dried red chile peppers, such as chile de arbol or Thai bird, snipped at one end
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 tsp. Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 cup scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • Rice, for serving

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 430
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 240
  • Fat (g): 26
  • Saturated Fat (g): 5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12
  • Cholesterol (mg): 105
  • Sodium (mg): 540
  • Carbohydrates (g): 25
  • Fiber (g): 8
  • Sugar (g): 7
  • Protein (g): 28

Preparation

  • In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, ginger, 1 tsp. of the soy sauce, 1 tsp. of the rice wine, the cornstarch, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. cold water. Stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add 1 tsp. of the peanut oil, and stir until the chicken is lightly coated.
  • In a small bowl, combine the broth, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, the remaining 1 tsp. soy sauce, and the remaining 1 tsp. rice wine.
  • Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok (preferably seasoned carbon steel) or a 12-inch stainless-steel skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Add 1 Tbs. of the peanut oil, swirl to coat the pan, then add the chile peppers, garlic, and ground peppercorns. Stir-fry with a metal spatula until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Push the aromatics up the sides of the wok, and add the chicken mixture, spreading it evenly over the bottom in a single layer. Cook, undisturbed, for 1 minute, letting the chicken begin to sear. Then stir-fry the chicken with the aromatics until beginning to brown but not cooked through, about 1 minute. Transfer the chicken mixture to a plate.
  • Add the remaining 1 Tbs. peanut oil to the wok, and swirl to coat. Add the bell pepper, and stir-fry until bright red, 1 minute. Return the chicken mixture to the wok with any accumulated juices. Pour the broth mixture down and around the sides of the wok, and stir-fry until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 minute. Add the scallions and peanuts, and cook until the scallions are bright green, about 30 seconds. Serve immediately with rice.

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