Thursday, May 2, 2013

Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken

I have never been to China, but I am 78% sure this is the least authentic recipe for Kung Pao Chicken, ever.  I do not care.  Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken includes some of my favorite vegetables (green peppers, red peppers, zucchini) and none of those completely unnecessary vegetables (I'm looking at you, celery and water chestnuts!) that I often get from more authentic restaurants.  I had a lot of cravings for this chicken when I was pregnant with Miles, so I know what it's supposed to taste like.  This recipe is pretty darn close.  It's from a cookbook full of restaurant knockoffs that I borrowed from the library. 

Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken

1 lb. 1/2" cubed chicken breasts
1 small egg
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
2 green onions
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 T. soy sauce
1 T. cornstarch dissolved in 1 T. cold water
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
2 divided T. vegetable oil
1 chunked red pepper
1 chunked green pepper
1 chunked small zucchini
1 tsp. minced garlic (2 cloves)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
Sugar, to taste
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
4 cups cooked white rice

  1.  In a zip-top bag, combine meat with egg, water, cornstarch, and salt; marinate, chilled, for at least 30 minutes. 
  2. Slice the green onions, both the white part and greens, into 1/2" pieces.
  3. Combine water and soy sauce , stir in dissolved cornstarch and rice wine vinegar, and chill.
  4. About 20 minutes before serving time, heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a hot wok (or large frying pan).  Stir meat, drain, and discard marinade.
  5. Quickly stir-fry the meat for 60-90 seconds.  Transfer to a large container.
  6. Stir-fry the peppers until almost tender.  Add the onions and zucchini, remove, and reserve with meat.
  7. Heat the remaining oil and stir-fry garlic and season with pepper flakes and ginger.
  8. Stir the reserved sauce mixture before pouring into seasoned garlic.  heat through to thicken.  Sweeten to taste with sugar, adding a bit more ginger and/or red pepper flakes, as needed.
  9. Add cooked food to sauce and stir in peanuts.  Serve over hot rice.
Serves 4-5.

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