Those who care at all,, and even those who belittle and malign me for my weekly indulgence in the world's greatest food, should pay attention.
My weekly obsession/celebration of the Chinese dish Kung Pao Chicken (also beef, shrimp and scallops) goes back to the great snowfall in Philadelphia in 1983. XC skiing in the streets (checking my logs revealed I did manage a 3-mile run that day too!) led to a big hunger and there weren't many places open that day. We wandered into Joy Tsin Lau and ordered a spicy dish to warm up. I then managed to eat at that restaurant quite a lot over the next 2 years, not always ordering the same dish. But I ordered it enough that they still remember me when I return to Philly to celebrate Chinese New Year and stop in for a meal.
But 100 lawyers from Temple University (I am also a Temple grad!) may not share my love of the place now. A recent episode of food poisoning (and Here) there made world-wide headlines mostly because the owner stated that the restaurant wasn't responsible and that the lawyers simply drank too much.
Gung Bao (Kung Pao) Chicken Recipe
Ingredients| metric conversion
- 1/3 cup unsalted peanuts
- 1 pound (or a little more) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or unroasted peanut oil
- 1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns
- 2 dried red chilies, roughly chopped or crushed
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 1-inch knob ginger root, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 4 scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped
Directions1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the peanuts and gently toast the peanuts, shaking the pan occasionally, until they’re a beautiful golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the peanuts to a plate to cool.
2. Meanwhile, place the chicken, cornstarch, and half the soy sauce in a large bowl and gently toss until all of the chicken is well coated. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.
3. Heat a wok over medium heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, remove the wok from the heat and throw in the Szechuan peppercorns and dried red chilies. Stir continuously 20 to 30 seconds, until the chilies start to turn light brown in color.
4. Place the wok over medium-high heat then add the chicken. Fry 2 to 3 minutes, until it just starts to turn golden. Then add the garlic, ginger, scallions, and peanuts. Stir-fry constantly until the chicken is cooked through and tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the remaining soy sauce over the chicken, toss well, and serve immediately.