August 18, 2015

Kung Pao Chicken

Chili Chicken, Chicken Manchurian, Hakka Noodles, Sweet corn Soup, Hot and Sour soup, and Chicken lolly-pops or Drums of heaven, these were the ultimate dishes which used to comprise the whole Chinese Cuisine for us. My sister and I both die for the Chinese delicacies, make sure as told earlier, for us (To be true, as per our knowledge), mainly Chili Chicken and Hakka Noodles meant all for Chinese cuisine. Whenever we used to visit any Chinese restaurant with our parents, we would order only the items among those. Once for a change we ordered for a new dish called Chicken China Town. We were pretty excited and anxiously waiting to taste a new dish. What we were served, was a dish tasted same like Chicken Manchurian. Only it was covered with an egg poach. Huh, so whether there were 30 odd items listed on the menu of a Chinese restaurant in India, say about 20 years back, the dishes tasted more or less the same. The present scenario has now totally changed. People gained a good knowledge on different cuisine about the varieties and authenticity of the tastes. But at the time of our childhood authentic taste of a cuisine only limited with the high end Restaurants which were not always affordable for us. Spending 250/-INR for a dish was mere a luxury nothing else. So we used to choose our comfort zone where each dish costs 100 to 150/- or less. To be honest once or twice we have visited such places but those Chinese dishes didn't tickle our taste buds for the mildness in the tastes, as we were used to with the dash of Ajinamoto, spicy and full of soy sauce gravy dishes.
It had only opened the whole arena of the versatility of Chinese Cuisine then, when I visited USA. Though not the authentic one, I at least came out from a world where Chilli Chicken and Hakka Noodles were not available. Rather I was introduced with Honey crispy Chicken, Mince Chicken with eggplant, Kung Pao Chicken or Gong Bao Chicken, Hunan Chicken, Wantons, Dumplings, Peking Roasted ducks etc. The variety in taste and flavour in-fixed my mind to What actually Chinese Cuisine is. I was introduced with the varieties of Sauces and spice in the Chinese local stores. The taste of Soy Sauce was so different from the one available in India.  I had never heard about the Sauces like Hoisin sauce or Oyster Sauce. I had never seen so many different varieties of Chili Sauce. The different kind of vinegar and et al. Thankfully now at this age we almost get most the global continental food items in the market. So one can easily delve in luxury to make different types of international dishes at home. Only you have to find out the proper recipe and give a try. Now Kung Pao Chicken is one of the dishes that we love from the traditional Chinese Cuisine. The recipe I have shared is not entirely the authentic one, but a near to it. So enjoy Kung Pao Chicken... 

This Magazine look I created inspired by my very talented friend Chandrima. Check out her blog Not out of the box for delicious recipes and eye catching food photography.
{Recipe partially adapted from HERE}
Ingredients
Marinade
Soy Sauce: 1tbspn
Chinese rice wine or dry sherry – 2 tspn (I used rice vinegar)
Cornflour – ½ tbspn
Boneless Chicken – 250 grams (Cut in to cubes)
Sauce
 Chinese black vinegar or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar – 1 tspn (I used Balsamic vinegar)
Soy Sauce – 2 tspn
Hoisin sauce – 1 tbspn
Sesame oil – 1 tspn (I didn’t use)
Sugar – 1 tspn
Corn flour – 1 tspn
Ground Sichuan pepper – ½ tspn (See notes - #1)
For the final part:
White oil – 2tbspn + 2 tbspn
Dried red chilies – As per your taste
Spring onion – Finely sliced ¼ cup
Coloured bell pepper  diced -  1 & 1/2 cup
Garlic – finely chopped – 1 tbspn
Fresh ginger – grated 1 tspn
 Dry - roasted Peanuts – ¼ cup
Method:
1. Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients written under Marinade. Fold it nicely so that the cornflour gets mixed evenly.
2. Prepare the sauce, combine all the ingredients written under Sauce. Rest for a while so that the sugar gets dissolve.
3. Heat 2 tbspn oil a wok or a Kadai. Pour the chicken and fry for 4 - 5 minutes on high flame. Take them out and reserve in a bowl.
4.  Add the remaining 2 tbspn oil with the excess oil. Add garlic and let it turn light brown. Add the bell peppers and the chicken. Give a good stir on high flame for  2- 3 minutes. Then add the sauce and the dry red chilies (See notes - #2). Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more then add the peanuts. Cook for couple of minutes more. Then take it off the stove sprinkling the spring onions. Serve hot with rice / fried rice / noodles.
Note:
1. I didn't have ground Sichuan pepper. So what I did, I cut the dry red chilies in strips and added it.
2. Basically the recipe asks for tempering with the Dry Red chilies. I avoided it because of my kid. If your hot tolerance appreciates a good amount of chilies then go for it. Make sure to put your exhaust fan on high and keep your kids away from the kitchen while tempering the chilies.
3. #Tips : Don't cook the chicken for longer time otherwise it will kill the softness of the chicken and will make it hard and rubbery.

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