Kung Pao Chicken (or Gong Baogōng bǎo jī dīng 宫保鸡丁) is a typical traditional Sichuan dish made with diced chicken, peanuts and chili pepper. Kung Pao chicken is a very popular staple of North American Sichuan-style Chinese restaurants, and many recommend using it as a measure of the skills of a chef.
It was named after a court official Ding Baozhen in the late Qing dynasty (1616-1911). Legend has it that Mr. Ding was a gourmet, relishing “stir-fried diced chicken” in particular. While he served as governor in Shandong and Sichuan, he often treated his guests to this dish. While in Sichuan, where the local people liked hot chilies, Ding improved his favorite dish “stir-fried diced chicken” by adding chili pepper to the ingredients. As a result, the dish with its spicy flavour tastes more delicious. Since Ding was later granted the title Taizi Shaobao, which literally means “protector of the crown prince”, by the imperial court, he was also referred to as Kung Pao, which was short for Taizi Shaobao. In memory of Mr. Ding Baozhen, people named his favorite dish Kung Pao Chicken.
The dish exists in both traditional Sichuan and Westernized versions; the latter is more popular in the United States and Canada.
How to cook Kung Pao Chicken?
250g boneless, skinless chicken breast, 100g peanuts
10g dried red chilies, 20g spring onion, 30g ginger, 20g garlic, 5g Sichuan peppercorn, 5g chili powder
① Wash the chicken breast until clean, slap it gently with the back of a knife to make the meat soft. Cut it into small cubes, and put them in a bowl. Add the egg white, appropriate amounts of fine salt, soy sauce and starch into the bowl, and stir well.
② Heat skillet under medium power and add some oil, fry peanut until it develops aroma; Remove peanut from oil, drain and set aside; and cut the dried red chilies into halves. Dissolve the starch into water and stir well.
③ Place appropriate amounts of granulated sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, gourmet powder and chicken stock, dissolved starch and rice wine into a bowl and mix together the sauce ingredients.Marinate the chicken for 25 minutes.
④ Heat the oil for deep-frying in a wok over big flame; add and stir-fry the diced chicken for one minute. Place the chicken into a strainer and leach out oil.
⑤ Leave a small amount of oil in the wok, add the dried red chilies and stir until the spicy flavour develops. Now place the ginger, garlic, spring onion and sweet wheat flour sauce into the wok and stir-fry for a few seconds.
⑥Add the fried chicken, peanuts and chili powder and stir for another few seconds. Quickly pour the mixed sauce into the wok and stir the ingredients in. Finally, put everything onto a plate, and the dish is ready to serve.
Fresh, tender, spicy, crispy, savoury, oily but not greasy, a little sweet and sour.