Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao chicken recipe

After a bit of a slump in recent weeks, where I haven’t felt excited to cook and haven’t felt very creative, I’m trying to get things back on track. The last couple of recipes have been part of a ‘new me’. I now set aside time each week to actively get inspired by looking on Pinterest and blogs for recipe ideas. This has definitely helped boost my confidence with cooking again and give my recipes an injection of excitement.
This particular recipe was taken from Jamie Oliver, who I personally love and take inspiration from regularly. I think his recipes are very easy to follow and are clearly written. I only wish he’d post more photos during the stages of a meal, to see if I’m on track. Although I am guilty of not doing this always too.
Kung Pao chicken was a dish that both Stew and I absolutely loved during our time travelling through China. It was one of those dishes we went back to time and time again, yet have not eaten it since returning to the UK last Spring. It’s not a dish that you always find on Chinese menus in the UK and I presumed it would be super hard to make, but I was pleasantly surprised when I spotted Jamie’s recipe.

Now, I won’t say that this recipe beats authentic Chinese cuisine, because it doesn’t. I don’t think anything will come close to the Kung Pao that we ate in China. But what I will say is, this recipe felt much lighter and is full of fresh ingredients – something I love about Asian food.Jamie’s recipe calls for Szechuan peppercorns which ideally it needs to be an authentic Kung Pao recipe, but unfortunately I couldn’t find any so I improvised with a Chinese spice mix.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 2x chicken breasts, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2½ tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp mixed Chinese spice (this was in replacement of Szechuan pepper)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, diced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 small tin water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 small tin bamboo shoots, drained
  • 4 dried red chillies, left whole
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 heaped tbsp honey
  • 50g unsalted peanuts, crushed
  • 1 handful coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch pak choi, chopped
  • 100g wild rice (or basmati/white rice)
Method:
  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of cornflour (leaving half a tbsp) and Chinese spice (or Szechuan pepper if using). Toss in the chicken and coat well.
  2. Add the rice to a medium sized pan of water and bring to the boil. Follow packet instructions.
  3. Heat the coconut oil in frying pan on a medium heat and carefully add the chicken. Fry for 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the chicken and let stand on a few pieces of kitchen paper.
  4. Place a colander on top of the pan of rice, add the pak choi and cover with a pan lid. Steam for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the green pepper, garlic and ginger to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the spring onions and whole chillies for a further minute. Add the water chestnuts and bamboo shoots and fry for another minute.
  6. Remove the rice and pak choi from the heat. Drain the rice and leave to one side.
  7. Meanwhile mix ½ tablespoon of corn flour and 2 tablespoons of water. Add the soy, vinegar and honey and pour the mixture into the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes until slightly thickened.
  8. Add the peanuts and chicken and heat through.
  9. Serve the kung pao chicken on top of the rice with the pak choi on the side and garnish with coriander.

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