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Celebrating Chinese New Year with Kung Pao Chicken

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To truly experience the wondrous joy of Chinese New Year (this year being the Year of the Horse), one must surround themselves with color, joy, laughter and great food. You don't have to be Chinese to celebrate this festive time of the year and many cities across American will be holding parades to honor the Year of the Horse during the 15-day celebration. Personally, I can't think of a better way of celebrating than with some classic dishes from China (real Chinese food, not Americanized Chinese food).

If you are a fan of going to Chinese restaurants, then you are very well aware of the dish known as Kung Pao Chicken. This chicken dish is a classic of Chinese cuisine. As you will note from the ingredients, everything is fresh and there are no processed products used. This is one of the joys of real Chinese cuisine.

Ingredients needed to make Kung Pao Chicken (serves 4):

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbs. rice wine
  • 3 ½ tsp. sugar
  • 3 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 ½ tsp. grated ginger
  • 2 chicken breasts, skinned, boned and cubed
  • ½ cup peanut oil
  • 5 Thai peppers
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¾ tsp. cider vinegar
  • ½ cup unsalted chopped peanuts

Steps:

  1. In a small bowl whisk together 2 Tbs. soy sauce, 2 Tbs. rice wine, 1 ½ tsp. sugar, 1 ½ tsp. cornstarch and grated ginger.
  2. Place the cubed chicken into a medium non-metallic bowl. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss to coat. Cover the bowl and let marinate at room temperature 30 minutes.
  3. In a medium sauté pan or skillet heat the peanut oil over high heat. Add the Thai peppers and fry until they turn brown. Remove the peppers with a slotted spoon as set aside.
  4. Remove all but 2 Tbs. of oil from the pan. Add the chicken and fry 5 minutes. Add the green onions and garlic and fry 30 seconds.
  5. In a small bowl whisk together the stock, remaining soy sauce, rice wine, salt, sugar and cornstarch. Stir into the pan with the chicken.
  6. Add the Thai peppers back to the pan.
  7. Stir in the vinegar and peanuts.
  8. Serve over boiled or steamed rice.

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