What makes Chicken Kung Pao or Szechwan Chicken and Peanuts Stir-fry, special to me is not just the punch of heat it packs but the amazing aroma and flavour that comes with stir frying peanuts and dry chillies.
Traditionally dried red chillies with Szechwan peppercorn are added to this recipe but if you can’t find Szechwan pepper, simply use some freshly ground black pepper instead. Also adjust the quantity and type of red chillies according to your level of tolerance.
Another deviation from the traditional recipe that I make is the use of orange juice. You can add water to make the sauce but I feel orange juice makes a more flavourful and citrusy sauce.
*When cooking a stir-fry, always keep the required ingredients and utensils ready because delay of a few seconds can leave you with a dry and overcooked dish.
*It’s easier to cut half frozen chicken breasts into cubes.
For Kung Pao Chicken:
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
6-8 dried red chillies, seeds removed , chopped or cut into halves
2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks spring onions, chopped or cut on the diagonal
4-5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon corn flour
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup orange juice
This Is What You Do:
Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok on medium high heat. Add chicken and stir fry till golden on outside. Remove the chicken and set aside.
Add 2 more tablespoons oil, add chopped ginger and garlic to the oil in the wok, stir fry a few seconds, don’t let them turn brown. Add chopped chillies for a very quick stir fry. Add peanuts and chicken, mix everything.
Pour the sauce ingredients in the wok, stir till the sauce thickens and coats the chicken pieces. Do not over fry or you will end up with a very dry Kung Pao.
Take off heat garnish with spring onions, serve hot over steamed rice.