With all of this talk about Chinese food it was about time that I got down to cooking some! There are several different types of Chinese cuisine and I would have to say that my favourite is the cuisine that comes from the Sichuan province for its use of chilies and the mouth numbing Sichuan peppercorns . Kung pao chicken is a quick and tasty dish that hails from the Sichuan province and uses both chilies and Sichuan peppercorns and it is a dish that I keep coming back to for more. This recipe is really easy to make though some of the ingredients may not be in every pantry. Although you can replace some of the ingredients with more commonly available ones, I recommend that you try to track down some of the Sichuan peppercorns as they really bring a lot to the table. This is mainly a meat dish that is intended to be served with other vegetable dishes but you can easily add some extra vegetables to the chicken and quickly stir fry them as I did this time with a red bell pepper. This time I also served the kung pao chicken with some steamed baby bok choy in an ouster sauce with fried shallots .
Kung Pao Chicken
A popular and tasty Chinese sauteed chicken dish form the Sichuan province that uses red chilies and Sichuan peppercorns.
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinkiang (Chinese black vinegar) or balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chicken broth or water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 10 dried red chilies
- 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and ground*
- 1 tablespoon garlic, grated
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 1/4 cup peanuts
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Mix the soy sauces, Chinkiang, broth, sugar and corn starch and set aside.
- Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the chicken and saute until just about cooked and set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the chilies and peppercorns and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the sauce mixture, bring to a boil, add the chicken, green onions and peanuts, remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil.
Note: If you are new to Sichuan peppercorns you might want to start with 1 teaspoon and build up to the full tablespoon that I go with.