I decided to look for a recipe to make this dish on my own since we don't always feel like going out to eat and was very satisfied how this recipe from Cooks Illustrated turned out. Serve with rice and a hearty dark beer.
Kung Pao Chicken
(from Cooks Illustrated)
While we prefer this dish made with chicken thighs rather than breasts because the dark meat has richer flavor and is less prone to drying out, if you prefer, you can replace the thighs with chicken breasts. You can substitute plain rice vinegar for the black rice vinegar (available in Asian markets), but we prefer the latter for its fruity, salty complexity. If you prefer roasted unsalted cashews over peanuts, substitute an equal amount. Do not eat the whole chiles in the finished dish.
|1||pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs , trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces|
|1||tablespoon dry sherry or rice wine|
|2||teaspoons soy sauce|
|3||medium cloves garlic , pressed through garlic press or minced (about 1 tablespoon)|
|1/2||inch piece fresh ginger , peeled and minced (about 2 teaspoons)|
|3||tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil|
|1/2||cup roasted unsalted peanuts|
|6||small whole dried red chiles (each about 1 3/4 to 2 inches long), 3 chiles roughly crumbled, or 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes|
|3/4||cup low-sodium chicken broth|
|2||teaspoons black rice vinegar or plain rice vinegar|
|2||teaspoons toasted sesame oil|
|1||tablespoon oyster sauce|
|1||tablespoon hoisin sauce|
|1 1/2||teaspoons cornstarch|
|1||medium red bell pepper , cut into 1/2-inch dice|
|3||medium scallions , sliced thin|
- 1. Toss chicken with sherry and soy sauce in medium bowl; marinate until thighs have absorbed flavors, about 10 minutes. Mix garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon oil in small bowl; set aside. Combine peanuts and chiles in small bowl; set aside. Mix chicken broth, vinegar, sesame oil, oyster-flavored sauce, hoisin sauce, and cornstarch in small bowl or measuring cup; set aside.
- 2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add chicken and cook without stirring for 2 minutes, allowing chicken to brown on one side; stir and cook 1 1/2 to 2 minutes more, until no longer pink; stir peanuts and chiles into chicken and continue cooking until peanuts have darkened slightly, 30 to 40 seconds longer. Transfer chicken, peanuts, and chiles to bowl; set aside.
- 3. Return skillet to burner and reheat briefly, 15 to 30 seconds. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, swirl to coat pan, and add red bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 45 seconds. Clear center of pan, add garlic-ginger mixture, mash into pan with spoon or spatula, and cook until fragrant, 10 to 15 seconds; stir into peppers until combined. Stir broth mixture to recombine, then add to skillet along with reserved chicken, peanuts, and chiles; cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan, until sauce has thickened to syrupy consistency, about 45 seconds. Stir in scallions and serve.