Saturday, July 19, 2014

Kung Pao Chicken with Rice and Garlic Chips

I have mentioned in several previous posts that I am a great lover of Italian, Mexican, Japanese, Greek, and Chinese food.  There are plenty other genres of foods to add to the list, but not enough binary space and time.  One of my all-time favorite Chinese dishes is Kung Pao Chicken.  I have had it myriad ways; with celery, without celery; with peppers and without; with a ton of garlic (which I LOVE) and with very little garlic. I have to admit, I have never quite perfected that spicy, hot lite gravy sauce that punctuates it, but I have to say, I love my own sauce.  Shall we get to my recipe?  It is easy and above all, quite tasty!!!

1 pound package boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cubed
 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped + 1 large clove sliced into chips
1 large yellow or red onion, chopped into squares/cubes about 1/2" to one inch, square
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, cubed
1 red or green pepper, cubed
1 stalk celery, cubed (but I did not, this time!)
1 serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes (if you want extra heat, like me!)
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil and a teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
1 tablespoon peanuts or slivered almonds
1.5 tablespoons aged Tamari sauce
pinch cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons Kung Pao sauce (which you can find at your local store)
1 teaspoon Hoisin sauce (also purchased at your local grocery store)
4 stalks scallions, greens sliced at an angle
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated or ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon all spice

If you plan to serve this over rice or noodles, now would be the perfect time to get that started!

 Once you have prepped your vegetables and aromatics, and readied your spices, which, of course, you might want to add any other spices you prefer! add the vegetable and sesame oil to your wok or high-sided skillet.  Add the garlic chips and slowly increase the heat every few minutes (three or so minute increments) until you have reached medium-high and the garlic chips begin to sizzle and brown.  Remove the chips once they are a light golden brown.  Add the onion, chile, garlic and peppers and saute four minutes.  Add the sauces and incorporate thoroughly.  Afterward, move the veg off to the side of the wok or skillet and add the chicken cubes.  Allow the chicken to cook two or three minutes each side, then add the spices.  Toss all of the ingredients together, including half of the scallion greens, but reserving, still, the garlic chips. 

Continue tossing for four to five minutes over medium-high heat until the chicken has cooked, the onions have softened and the peppers have softened.  You just do not want the veg to become mushy.  Stirring or tossing allows them to maintain their texture.  All the while, your kitchen will be filled with an intense but extremely pleasant aroma.  

If you plan to serve this over rice or noodles, now would be a great time to plate it.  

I chose to serve my Kung Pao over rice.  In my previous post, from back in my early days of this, my three-year blog works, I served it over udon noodles.  I chose rice, this time, for a purely selfish reason.  I plan to make egg fried rice with seared pork belly tomorrow.  See?  Always thinking!  You could use a bowl, which might be a wise choice, but a rimmed plate would be quite fine, as well.  Place a paddle of rice either in the center or to the side of your plate, and layer the Kung Pao Chicken over part or all of the rice.  I chose to layer it over part of the rice for bright, contrasting colors.  I garnished with the scallion greens, garlic chips and slivered almonds.  What an aromatic, colorful dish!  

I hope you enjoy making a devouring this dish as much as I enjoyed doing the same!  
Thank You so much for your time and consideration!

Now, go cook this or something else for your loved ones!