Today’s recipe KUNG PAO CHICKEN with CASHEWNUTS. A very easy, simple and delicious Chinese dish which tickles your tastebuds.
Hubby requested Chinese food for dinner today. Frankly speaking I got really bored and tired of eating the usual chilli chicken, chicken manchurian, garlic chicken at our local Chinese eateries and takeaways. I wanted to try something new that would give our tastebuds a new dimension, so down I went to achieve a tastebud tingling Kung Pao Chicken with Cashewnuts.
Hubby loved it. It has got the spicy heat from the dried chillies and szechwan peppers, sweetness from the sauces and sugar and tanginess from the vinegar and cashew nuts for the crunch. You can replace the cashew nuts with peanuts. Traditionally Kung Pao Chicken is made with Peanut but I prefer to use Cashews.
Kung Pao Chicken is a popular classic dish which hails from the Szechuan province in China. The key ingredients of Szechwan cuisine and in this recipe is Red Chilli Pepper and Szechuan Pepper. Szechuan pepper has a citrusy, peppery aroma but it is not related to black or white peppers. They are actually dried red brown berries. It is one of the spices used in making Chinese Five Spices. If you can’t get hold of Szechuan pepper you can substitute it with freshly ground black pepper.
- 460 grams Chicken breast
- 1 tablespoon Soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Water
- 3 tablespoon Cornstarch
- Oil for deep frying
- 1/2 tablespoon Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Rice wine
- 1 tablespoon Soya sauce
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Sesame oil
- 1/2 tablespoon Cornstarch
- Salt as per taste
- 8-10 Dried red chilies, slit
- 1 teaspoon Szechwan Peppers
- 55 grams Cashew
- 1/2 teaspoon Ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- Wash the chicken breast and pat them dry and then slice it into one inch cubes. Now place the chicken into a clean bowl and add a marinade comprised of 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Mix this with the chicken thoroughly. Set this aside at for about thirty minutes to fully marinate the chicken.
- While the chicken is marinating, you can make your sauce. Mix together the vinegar, rice wine, soya sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch. Mix it well and set it aside.
- Heat oil for deep frying in a wok, when hot enough fry the cashew nuts until they are golden brown. This will take a few minutes as you don't want the oil too hot so you don't burn the cashews. So once you are have reached a golden brown colour, strain the cashews.
- In the same oil, fry the marinated chicken pieces and fry about half of them at a time. Stir constantly because there is cornstarch with the chicken and they will stitch to one another.
- When the chicken is golden brown, remove them with the slotted spoon and keep aside.
- In another wok, heat about one tablespoon of oil, when the oil is hot enough start by add the dried red chillies and the Szechuan peppers.
- Stir fry briefly until they turn dark. Frying these chilies gives a wonderful flavour to the Kung pao dish.
- Now add the grated ginger and sauté for few seconds.
- When the chillies have turned dark, add the fried chicken and cashews and sauté foe few seconds.
- Stir your sauce ingredients around making sure there is no clumps of cornstarch in there. Add your sauce and stir fry for few seconds on high heat.
- Turn of the heat. Your Kung Pao Chicken is ready.
- Enjoy it with steamed rice or egg fried rice.
- Remove the seeds from dried chillies if you do not like your kung pao very hot.
- If you can't get hold of Szechwan pepper you can substitute it for freshly ground black pepper or you can simply skip it.
- You can substitute Rice wine with Pale dry sherry or Gin. For non-alcoholic version you can add apple juice or white grape juice.