Homemade Takeout: Kung Pao ChickenFebruary 11, 2010
I absolutely love Chinese food! But everytime I tried to make it at home, the results were mediocre at best. In my previous attempts, I would use chicken, various vegetables and bottled stir fry sauces. Not impressed. Not even a little. When I found this recipe for Kung Pao Chicken I thought I would give it one more try.
The recipe, which I found in a recipe e-newsletter that I receive, seemed easy enough. Of course I didn’t have any of the specialty ingredients on hand. But they were easy enough to find at my grocery store. To make it easier on myself, I mixed up the sauce ingredients this past Sunday and stashed it in the fridge. I did end up making a second batch because of the mix up earlier this week with the pork chops! I also chopped the broccoli on Sunday. Everything was stored in Ziplocs in the fridge, ready for my weeknight dinner.
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
4 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, divided
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped salted peanuts
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli and 2 teaspoons ginger to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add water. Cover; cook 2 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Remove broccoli from pan; keep warm.
Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan; add remaining 1 teaspoon ginger, crushed red pepper, and chicken. Cook 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned, stirring frequently.
Combine broth and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Return broccoli mixture to pan; toss to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts.
What I Did…
By having most of the steps pre-prepped, I only had to chop the fresh ginger (I love the smell of fresh ginger root!). If you’ve never used this before, it may seem a little daunting. After all, it does look like a big piece of root. Not very appetizing. However, once you peel off the skin (I use a vegetable peeler), you’ll notice it’s quite fragrant.
Once the ginger was chopped, I had to slice the boneless, skinless chicken into strips. I always buy my meats from our local butcher, Bosak’s Choice Meats in Olyphant. Every piece of meat that I buy is always perfectly trimmed and ready to use right out of the package! No trimming or cleaning (gross!) or waste. I highly recommend them!
Once these two steps were done, the rest of the meal came together pretty quickly. It only took about 15 minutes to cook everything! In fact, the chicken and broccoli were done way before the rice was done!
The dish looked great. And, it smelled fantastic! I had high hopes for this one!
Is it a keeper?
This recipe is a keeper, keeper, keeper! It met all 3 of my requirements 1.) Parts can pre-prepped in advance, 2.) It’s quick and easy to prepare and 3.) It’s delicious!
Sweet, tangy and little hint of heat (from the crushed red pepper). The peanuts also gave it a nice crunch. Jim loved it too! Next time, I will double the recipe so that I have some left overs for lunch the next day!
I have to be honest, I don’t think it will take the place of my favorite Chinese restaurant, The New China Star in Dunmore. But, this was great contender as far as home cooked Chinese food goes! No more bottled sauces for this girl! This homemade sauce was super simple and super yummy!
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