Kung Pao Chicken
This dish packs a bit of a punch, and we're not mad about it. At all.
Photo by Matt Zuras
Prep: 2 weeks
Total: 24 hours
for the kung pao sauce:
1 ½ cups|325 grams granulated sugar
1 cup|250 ml light soy sauce
1 cup|250 ml soy sauce
1 cup|250 ml thick, premium soy sauce
1 cup|250 ml white vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1 ½-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons|30 ml sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons|20 ml soy oil
for the chicken marinade:
9 ounces|267 grams boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons|19 grams cornstarch
2 tablespoons|30 ml soy oil
1 tablespoon|15 ml soy sauce
4 teaspoons|12 grams white pepper
1 teaspoon|2 grams Chinese 5 spice
1 teaspoon|3 grams garlic powder
1 teaspoon|2 grams ginger powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten
for the kung pao chicken:
2 quarts canola oil plus 1 tablespoon for stir fry
3 ½ ounces|100 grams snow peas, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 Spanish onion, cut into a large dice
1/2 cup|75 grams roasted peanuts
10 pieces dried thai chilies
1 tablespoon|15 grams chili paste
1/3 cup|90 ml kung pao sauce
1/3 cup|90 ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon|2 grams ground Sichuan peppercorn
1 teaspoon|1 gram chili flake
1 tablespoon|7 grams cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon|15 ml water until a thick paste forms
sesame oil, to finish
1. Two weeks ahead of time, make the kung pao sauce: In a large container with a lid, combine the sugar, soy sauces, vinegar, minced garlic and ginger with 5 cups of hot water. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oils in a small skillet over medium-high. Add the crushed garlic and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Pour over the sauce and cover. Makes about 8 cups.
3. Marinate the chicken: Combine the corn starch, soy oil, soy sauce, white pepper, 5 spice, garlic powder, ginger and egg in a medium bowl and stir to mix. Add in the chicken and toss to evenly coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
4. Make the kung pao chicken: Heat 2-inches of canola oil in a large saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 325°F|160°C. Add the chicken and cook until crispy, about 5 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate.
5. Heat a wok over high flame, and working quickly, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. In rapid succession add the snow peas, onion, peanuts, sliced garlic, dried chilies, chili paste, kung pao sauce, stock, Sichuan peppercorns, and chili flakes. Stir fry for 30 seconds and add a little cornstarch slurry to thicken. When the sauce is thick, add the chicken. Stir fry for another 30 seconds and finish with a splash of sesame oil across the back of the wok.