World Best Recipe for Kung Pao Chicken
I've eaten Kung Pao Chicken probably 20 time here in Chinatown and never got the same thing twice.* I know cooks have to take a lot of short cuts in resturants so if you are a Chinese food lover, this recipe will make you happy.
It was given to me by someone who lived in Cheng Du, China and was a Szechuan cook.* *It looks complicated but after doing it once you will find it a lot easier.
4 Skinless chicken brests
10 Birdseye (Thai) Chili Peppers (slender 3 inch long, bright red)
10 Shallots (green onions) - cut into 1 inch long pieces
8 Cloves of fresh garlic - crush and dice finely
2 inch long piece of ginger root - peel and dice very finely
1/2 cup of sugar
Planters Dry roasted peanuts
Sichuan Peppercorns (called numb spice)
Bottle of Peanut Oil
Bottle of Sesame Oil
Box of Cornstarch
Bottle of Soy Sauce
Bottle of Rice Wine Vinegar
Cooking is a series of seperate steps;
1. Make a marinade for the chicken
Make a marinade of 2 TS each of water, soy sauce and constrach (should be caramel color and just thicker than water)
2. Prepare a sauce for final step of cooking
Mix 2 TS of Rice Wine Vinegar, Soy Sauce, 1/2 TS of Sesame Oil and 2 TS of Cornstarch
3. Prepare caramalized sugar syrup. By far the hardest part of the recipe.
In a teflon coated large skillet put a 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Slowly, very slowly heat till this turns medium brown and is still runny. Quickly get it out of the hot pan in into a large bowl.
Start 3 cups of peanut oil heating in a heavy Teflon coated wok (prefer flat bottom)
Get to a temp just below its smoking point.
Pound the chicken breast with a spiked meat mallet till nearly mush (very important,don't skip)
Cut the mushy chicken bresast into bite size pieces.
In a large bowl thoroughly coat the chicken pieces with the marinade.
Now put the chicken into the hot oil and use a big basket type spoon to swirl it around for just a few seconds, just enough to stick the marinade. Remove and put back in same bowl. Make sure the chicken isn't sticking toghether.
Pour all the oil from the wok but leave the wok surface oily, now,remove the stem and seeds, cut into 1 inch pieces and add the 10 red chili peppers to the oily wok and stir over medium heat till the brown, add the Sichuan pepper corns and stir for a few seconds to release their flavor, then add garlic and ginger. Stir these ingredients for just enough time to infuse the garlic and ginger into the oil.
Turn up the heat, meanwhile put the marinated chicken into the bowl of caramalized sugar syrup and mix with your left hand only make sure all pieces are coated.
Put the chicken into the wok, and with you clean right hand start stiring/mixing the chicken to coat all pices with the spices, now add the shallots, cook for a few seconds, pour in the sauce mixture made earlier, stir, stir stir. Toss on the peanuts.