Kung Pao

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005 1:45 am by Neal

Pork. Chicken. Shrimp. Tofu.

southchild.com readers:
I’m always stowing away secret recipes for my cookbooks, but I promise to share certain gems that I dream, adapt, borrow, or otherwise conjure into a delicious mystery. Until the day I open the vault, enjoy these tasty crumbs. — neal

An essence of chili, ginger, garlic with peppers and peanuts, Kung Pao mixes hot and spicy with vinegar, soy and sweet into a uniquely delicious Chinese dish.

Ready the Meat
  • Use one “plus-a-little” pound of pork, chicken, shrimp, tofu or a combination.
  • Chop each of the meats, except shrimp which should be left whole, into half-inch cubes.
  • Marinate the meat in two tablespoons soy sauce and two tablespoons corn starch (mix together in a bowl, store covered in fridge).
Don’t forget the nuts

A surprise in this dish is the 1/2 cup of roasted, unsalted peanuts added at the very end. If you have salted peanuts, just use them instead. I don’t think it matters in this dish.

Whisk the following together for a sauce
  • 1 cup chicken (veggie for veggies) stock
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Hot Chili Sauce (more for more heat. Be careful!)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon grated garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons basalmic (or other dark) vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Corn Starch
Chop the following
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, into 1/2 inch wide strips
  • 1 sweet, red bell pepper. Chop into 1/3 inch cubes
  • 4 large (or 5-6 medium/smaller) scallions, chopped diagonally into 3/4 inch slivers
  • mince 1 teaspoon ginger root and 1 tablespoon garlic for use in “Cook Veggies”, below
  • *Optional: Other veggies (4/25/2005 used 1 can sliced bamboo shoots. report: yum) Could use snow peas, bamboo shoots, pineapple cubes, baby corn, mushrooms, water chestnuts, brocolli, bok choy, napa cabbage, etc. Authentic “Kung Pao” seems to leave these out. It depends on how traditional you’re feeling.
Cook Meat
  • In a large non-stick skillet or wok, heat two tablespoons peanut oil over highest heat.
  • Stir fry meat quickly (two-three minutes) and set aside. NOTE: tofu likely needs more time (5+ minutes) and shrimp less (1-2 minutes).
Cook Veggies:
  • Re-heat skillet/wok to maximum. Add two tablespoons oil.
  • Quickly — almost in one motion — add to the hot oil: 1 teaspoon grated ginger, one tablespoon grated garlic, and 1 teaspoon chili sauce. Mix in the screaming hot oil for a couple of seconds and …
  • add onion, scallions, red pepper, and other veggies. Stir fry at wide-open for a couple of minutes.
Finish :
  • Add meat and stir into veggies.
  • Add sauce mixture. Add peanuts. Stir for one-three minutes while sauce thickens.
  • Serve in a hot bowl with a lid next to a hot bowl of rice.

“Kung Pao” Copyright 2005 Neal Lawson (neal@hn2.org)

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