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Kung Pao Chicken Recipe - I tried to keep my Kung Pao Chicken recipe as authentic as possible, but feel free to tone down the quantity of dried chilies as you wish. I wanted to share the secret ingredient of Kung Pao chicken, which is vinegar in the sauce. It gives that subtle yet characteristic touch to complete the Kung Pao flavor.

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast or thighs, cut into ¾-inch cubes (Vegetarians and Vegans: Use chicken substitute such as Butler’s Soy Curls, or 1 pound tofu cubes fried and baked – * see instructions under the recipe box)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 to 10 dried red chilis (or less depending on heat preference), broken up in large pieces, seeds and membranes carefully removed and discarded
  • 5 green onions, sliced, the green and white parts kept separate
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • ½ cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
  • Marinade:
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • Sauce:
  • ¼ cup Chinese black vinegar, or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1½ tablespoons whole sichuan peppercorns

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the soy sauce, rice wine, and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the chicken and toss to coat and let it marinate for at least 10 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and cornstarch. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a drop of water sizzles when thrown in. Add the oil and coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chilies and sichuan peppercorns and stir-fry for 30 seconds until the chilies begin to darken in color.
  4. Add the marinated chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink.
  5. Add the white parts of the green onion along with the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Pour in the sauce and stir, coating the chicken. Add the peanuts, stir to coat, and cook for another 2 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a dish, sprinkle the green parts of the green onions on top, and serve immediately with rice.

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