For my latest dose of Kung Pao chicken, I improvised quite a bit based on the ingredients I had on hand. I adapted a recipe from Fuchsia Dunlop, substituting shallots for the a few garlic cloves and adding a healthy dose of spinach. Although it was not quite the real deal, it was completely delicious. For authentic Kung Pao chicken, just omit the spinach addition and shallot-for-garlic substitution.
Eddie's Kung Pao Chicken
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 2 lbs. chicken breasts (or thighs), cut into bite-size pieces
- 3 tbsp. peanut oil
- 6 dried chiles
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 3 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 large handful of spinach
- 1 handful of unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- Mix cornstarch with wine in a large bowl and whisk until cornstarch dissolves. Add chicken to bowl and mix well to coat pieces with cornstarch mixture.
- Add oil to wok or large skillet and heat over high heat. Add dried chiles to pan and cook until they are blackened and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Add shallots and ginger to pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add chicken to wok and cook, stirring constantly, until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low. Add sugar and soy sauce and mix well. Simmer until sauce has thickened slightly, about five minutes.
- Add spinach and stir until wilted, about two minutes.
- Remove pan from heat. Mix in peanuts, scallion, and sesame oil and serve.