Friday, December 31, 2010

Kung Pau Chicken (based on The Take-Out Menu)

Matthew and I usually get take out once a week, mostly from Big Bowl. Although it is easy, and we usually get a bunch of appetizers that we get to share, I am now trying to lose the weight that I have gain since our blissful wedding, and would prefer not to spend the money on something we eat in one sitting! So...when we went to Half Priced Books on Christmas Eve (yes, we like to buy our gifts at the last minute :-)) and I found a cookbook called The Take-Out Menu Cookbook, I thought, why not try some of these recipes? It had several Chinese and Thai recipes that I would love to try, and with my new passion of cooking, I figured it would be a great addition to my ever growing collection! I tried two of the recipes last night, but one did not turn out (I am not sure what went wrong, or if it was the recipe itself, but it was kinda yucky). The one that did, the Kung Pao Chicken, was pretty simple and definitely a keeper for me!

Kung Pao Chicken

In a large bowl, combine:

1 egg white, beaten
4 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. potato starch (the recipe called for cornstarch, but I only had potato starch)
1 tsp. rice wine
4 chicken breasts, skinned, bined and cut into bite-sized pieces

Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine:

3 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. rice wine
3 Tbs. rice vinegar
2 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. hoisin
2 tsp. Asian sesame oil

Set aside. In a wok, over high heat, heat until hot and barely smoking:

1/3 c. peanut or vegetable oil (I used peanut oil...I DO NOT keep vegetable oil in the house)


1 c. unsalted peanuts

Toss them for about 2 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Remove the peanuts from the oil onto a plate covered with a paper towel. Set aside.

Add the chicken to the oil and toss, cooking it until it is slightly browned, approximately 4 minutes. At the same time, move the peanuts to a bowl.

Remove the chicken from the wok and add it to the peanuts. To the wok, add:

2 stalks of bok choy, ends cut and cut in half length-wise
1-2 red pepper(s), cut into large chunks
1 bunch green beans, ends cut and cut half

Note: These vegetables were not in the recipe. You can chose any combination of vegetables, including broccoli, water chestnuts, green peppers, etc. Whatever you have around the house. Personally, this is what I had, and vegetables we enjoy.

Toss around in the wok until bok choy leaves wilt. Do not overcook, or the vegetables can become soggy. Depending on the vegetables, the cooking time will vary. Remove the vegertables and add with the peanuts and chicken. to the wok, add:

5 dried hot chilis, or to taste (5 chilis do not make the dish very hot)

Cook them until they turned almost black, about 1 minute (flip after 30 seconds). Add:

2 garlic cloves, minced
3 quarter-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

Toss until fragarent, about 1 minute. Add the vegetables, chicken, peanuts and sauce. Lastly, add:

4 green onions, roughly chopped

Combine everything, heat thoughroughly. Serve with rice.

Note: This morning, Matthew told me it was definitely a keeper with no changes...woo hoo!!!

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