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Kung Pao (or Gong Bao) Chicken is a typical traditional Sichuan dish made with diced chicken, peanuts and chili pepper. It was named after a court official Ding Baozhen in the late Qing dynasty (1616-1911). Legend has it that Mr. Ding was a gourmet, relishing “stir-fried diced chicken” in particular. While he served as governor in Shandong and Sichuan, he often treated his guests to this dish. While in Sichuan, where the local people liked hot chilies, Ding improved his favorite dish “stir-fried diced chicken” by adding chili pepper to the ingredients. As a result, the dish with its spicy flavour tastes more delicious. Since Ding was later granted the title Taizi Shaobao, which literally means “protector of the crown prince”, by the imperial court, he was also referred to as Kung Pao, which was short for Taizi Shaobao. In memory of Mr. Ding Baozhen, people named his favorite dish Kung Pao Chicken.
250g chicken breast, 100g peanuts
10g dried red chilies, 20g spring onion, 30g ginger, 20g garlic, 5g Sichuan peppercorn, 5g chili powder
150g peanut oil, 10g granulated sugar, 10g sweet wheat-flour sauce (known as Peking duck sauce), 20g soy sauce, 50g rice wine, 10g vinegar, 20g chicken stock, 5g fine salt, 5g gourmet powder (monosodium glutamate), 20g starch, one egg.
① Wash the chicken breast until clean, slap it gently with the back of a knife to make the meat soft. Cut it into small cubes, and put them in a bowl. Add the egg white, appropriate amounts of fine salt, soy sauce and starch into the bowl, and stir well.
② Stir-fry the peanuts and peel their skin after they cool off a bit, and cut the dried red chilies into halves. Dissolve the starch into water and stir well.
③ Place appropriate amounts of granulated sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, gourmet powder and chicken stock, dissolved starch and rice wine into a bowl and mix together the sauce ingredients.
④ Heat the oil for deep-frying in a wok over big flame; add and stir-fry the diced chicken for one minute. Place the chicken into a strainer and leach out oil.
⑤ Leave a small amount of oil in the wok, add the dried red chilies and stir until the spicy flavour develops. Now place the ginger, garlic, spring onion and sweet wheat flour sauce into the wok and stir-fry for a few seconds. Then add the fried chicken, peanuts and chili powder and stir for another few seconds. Quickly pour the mixed sauce into the wok and stir the ingredients in. Finally, put everything onto a plate, and the dish is ready to serve.
Fresh, tender, spicy, crispy, savoury, oily but not greasy, a little sweet and sour