My favorite dish growing up was my mother’s kung pao chicken- she made it from The Chinese Cookbook, by Craig Claiborne and Virginia Lee. I’ll never forget the way our entire house would fill up with the smoke of dried red chilis and all us kids would cough and cough as we inhaled the delicious and intense chili smoke. Many of the traditional chinese ingredients were not available in the United States when I was growing up because of the trade embargo. It was only as an adult I was able to discover the ‘true’ flavors of chinese cooking including the mouth numbing szechuan peppercorn. So it’s with access to this ‘new’ ingredient that I’ve come to retool the Kung Pao of my childhood! The recipe is a snap to put together too by using the ultra tasty Sweet, Savory, Spicy simmer sauce from One Culture Foods. I usually start up some Venere Black Rice, so it can cook while the rest of the meal is coming together.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 egg white
1 tbs cornstarch
1 tsp kosher salt
3 tbs vegetable oil, such as Sun Cocos
Hand full of chili arbol peppers
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs grated ginger
½ bunch of green onions, chopped
1 tsp szechuan peppercorns
¾ cup of One Culture Sweet, Savory, Spicy sauce
⅓ cup roasted peanuts
Combine the raw chicken, egg white, cornstarch and salt. Mix well and set aside to marinate.
Chop up garlic, ginger, and green onions and set aside.
In a wok or large frying pan, heat up cooking oil (I prefer Sun Cocos from La Tourangelle, but any high heat tolerant oil will do).
When the oil is hot, add the chili arbols and stir fry very quickly. They will burn, so get them out of the oil before they get super dark. Drain chiles on a paper towel.
Keep the reserved oil, then add the marinated chicken. Stir fry until the chicken is no longer pink on the outside. Add garlic, onion, ginger and szechuan peppercorns and fry until the veggies are nice and fragrant.
Add the sauce and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Toss in roasted peanuts and the fried chilis. Serve over Venere rice and enjoy the heat!!