Kung Pao Chicken is one of my favorite Chinese food staples in the restaurant and takeout. I decided to make it myself and this is what I did.
It really came together rather quickly even though there are so very many ingredients.
Really delicious and served over brown rice or white rice or any rice or no rice.
For the Marinade:
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Dry Sherry
2 Teaspoons Corn Starch
1- 1 1/2 Chicken Tenders or Breasts cut into app. 1 -2 ” chunks– boneless and skinless chicken breasts
For the Sauce:
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Hoisin Sauce
1 Tablespoon Asian Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
1/2 Teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes — use less if you like it very mild–this did not make it spicy hot but use at your own discretion
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup water
For The Stir-Fry Chicken
3 – 3 1/2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
3 cloves garlic –minced
1 large red bell pepper , diced
2 stalks celery — I diced but you can slice thinly into small pieces do whatever you prefer with it
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 scallions, white and green parts — I diced but you can slice thinly here too
1/3 cup whole roasted unsalted cashews
Marinate the chicken . In a medium size bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, dry sherry and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the cut up chicken and toss to coat. Let it stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. I did this step and then proceeded with the rest of the recipe.
Prepare the sauce: In another medium bowl whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until the cornstarch is dissolved.
Heat a large non-stick skillet or a regular skillet ( spray first with cooking spray) Heat till very hot then add 1 Tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat. Add the bell pepper, celery and salt . Cook and stir frequently until slightly softened and starting to brown, app. 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and set aside.
Add an additional 1 Tablespoon of the vegetable oil to the pan and set over high heat again. Add half of the chicken ( don’t crowd it) and brown on one side about 2 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces and continue cooking for another 2 minutes — just till chicken is cooked through. Transfer this chicken to bowl with vegetables. Add another tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan and add the remaining chicken and cook the same way as first batch. Add app. 1/2 Tablespoon more oil to the pan along with the garlic and scallions and cook stirring the chicken for another minute. ( if pan still has enough oil you can omit this 1/2 Tablespoon of Oil)
Add the rest of the chicken and vegetables to the pan along with the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and cook until chicken and vegetables are cooked through and the sauce is nice and thick about a minute or two depending on the size of your chicken chunks. Stir in the nuts — I keep them whole or you can chop up. Taste and adjust seasonings but I thought it was just perfect. The sauce will thicken as it sits so if necessary put a few tablespoons of water if too thick.
I served over rice and we ate it right away so sauce was just perfect. If you prepare early the sauce may thicken.
Loved this recipe and will definitely add to my rotation . It seems like a lot of work but honestly it came together rather quickly.