KICKING KUNG PO STYLE CHICKEN

This is one of my favourite dishes from a Chinese takeaway. The base recipe is courtesy of #chinghehuang, my favourite Chinese chef and I have changed it slightly to my own Tastes and slightly lower salt. I like to serve it with noodles (usually use zero noodles, which are low-carb and gluten-free) but rice is delicious too. Can be made with prawns, tofu, beef, pork and other really versatile dish.

INGREDIENTS

For the marinade

(This stage is optional but I’ve just got used to always marinating the meat before cooking)

A couple of teaspoons of low salt soy sauce (gluten-free tamari, or just light soy sauce if you are not watching your salt intake)

A splash of Chinese rice wine

A couple of drops of sesame oil

Pinch of white pepper

Half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (I think this is usually just for red or tougher meat but I tend to like it with chicken breast but the choice is yours)

For the Sauce

200 mL cold vegetable stock

1 tablespoon cornflour

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (the original recipe only states 1 tablespoon but I prefer a bit extra myself, just watch the sugar content)

1 tablespoon reduced salt and sugar tomato ketchup

1 tablespoon low salt soy sauce (gluten-free tamari, or light soy sauce)

1 tablespoon Chinkiang black rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon chili sauce

For the chicken

2 skinless chicken breasts or 4 thighs, cut into 1/2-inch slices

Ground white pepper

1 tablespoon cornflour

1 tablespoon rapeseed oil or vegetable oil (if you look at the back of a standard bottle of vegetable oil it is often 100% rapeseed oil it’s just much cheaper)

1 heaped teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns and/or 4 to 5 dried red chilies (subject to taste and bravery)

1 tablespoon Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry

1 red pepper, seeded and cut into chunks

3 spring onions, chopped into 1-inch lengths

1 heaped teaspoon of chopped garlic (optional)

Handful of dry-roasted cashew nuts

a small handful of mangetout (optional or thin carrot strips)

METHOD

For the chicken

Place the chicken in a bowl and add the marinade ingredients if using. (Alternatively add the chicken and marinade to plastic freezer bag and give it a good shake to coat thoroughly)

Add the cornflour and mix well to coat the chicken pieces, set aside.

For the sauce:

Add the vegetable stock, cornflour, hoisin sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar and chili sauce to a medium bowl and stir to combine thoroughly.

Heat a wok over high heat until it starts to smoke and then add the oil. Add the Sichuan peppercorns and/or dried chiles and fry for a few seconds, then add the chicken pieces and stir-fry for 2 minutes. As the chicken begins to turn opaque, add the rice wine or dry sherry. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, then pour in the sauce.

Bring the mixture to a boil, add the red pepper and cook until the meat is cooked through and the sauce has thickened and become slightly sticky in consistency, another 2 minutes. Add the spring onions and carrots (if using) and cook for a minute or so.  Season to taste with the drop of sesame oil and rice wine.. Toss in the cashew nuts and mangetout, then transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.

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