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Kung Pao means 'guardian of the throne'.
Legend has it that this dish was named for a general--one of
the throne's guardians--who woke up hungry one night and commanded
a snack. The chef had only leftover chicken and peanuts. Afraid
to put leftovers before his master, the chef added lots of seasonings
to mask the chicken's staleness and threw in the peanuts for
good measure. The general loved it!
Kung Pao Chicken
- 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- Few dashes bottled red pepper hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons finely minced gingerroot
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 6 green onions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
- Hot cooked rice for accompaniment
- Rinse chicken; pat dry with paper towels.
Cut into 3/4-inch pieces. In a medium bowl, stir together chicken,
sherry, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Let stand for 15 minutes.
- For sauce, in a small bowl stir together
water, soy sauce, 4 teaspoons cornstarch, sugar, vinegar, and
hot pepper sauce. Set aside.
- Add oil to a wok or large skillet. Preheat
over medium-high heat (add more oil if necessary during cooking).
Stir-fry gingerroot and garlic in hot oil for 15 seconds. Add
chicken mixture. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender
and no longer pink. Push chicken from center of wok.
- Stir sauce; add to center of wok. Cook
and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add green onion pieces and
peanuts. Stir all ingredients together to coat. Cook and stir
for 1 to 2 minutes more or until heated through.
- Serve immediately with hot cooked rice.
Makes 4 servings.
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