Named after a court official or "Kung Pao," Kung Pao Chicken is a spicy Szechuan dish made with diced chicken, peanuts and chili peppers. This recipe calls for deep-frying; for a lighter version, try Kung Pao Chicken Stir-fry.
• 2 boneless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
• Marinade: 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
• 2 teaspoons cold water
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch
• Sauce: 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce, 2 teaspoons light soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon black or red rice vinegar, or red wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon chicken broth or water
• 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
• 1/2 tsp salt
• a few drops sesame oil
• 1 tsp cornstarch
• 6 to 8 small dried red chili peppers, or as desired
• 2 garlic cloves,
• 1/2 cup skinless, unsalted peanuts
• 3 - 4 cups oil for deep-frying and stir-frying
• Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Mix in the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, water and cornstarch. Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes.
• In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients, whisking in the cornstarch last.
• Remove the seeds from the chile peppers and chop. Peel and finely chop the garlic.
• Heat the oil for deep-frying to between 360 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Carefully slide the chicken into the wok, and deep-fry for about 1 minute, until the cubes separate and turn white.
• Remove and drain on paper towels. Drain all but 2 tablespoons oil from the wok.
• Add the chilies peppers and stir-fry until the skins starts to darken and blister.
• Add the garlic. Stir-fry until aromatic (about 30 seconds).
• Add the deep-fried chicken back into the pan.
• Stir-fry briefly, then push up to the sides of the wok and add add the sauce in the middle, stirring quickly to thicken.
• Stir in the peanuts.
• Mix everything together and serve hot. Serves 4 to 6 persons.