Stir Fryday: Kung Pao Chicken

I often get asked how to make Asian food.  For some reason people think it’s complicated or has a lot of hard to find ingredients.  Sure, if you’re going super authentic it might be more time consuming or require a trip to a specialty store but most every Asian recipe I make is super quick and easy.  You’ll notice that I keep a few easy to find ingredients in my pantry that makes whipping up stir fry a cinch!

Once you learn this recipe it’s easy to adjust the seasonings or change out the protein and veggies and create completely new dishes.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER: Make sure you have all your ingredients prepped before you start cooking!  I can’t stress that enough.  Once you start stir frying it goes FAST!  I think that’s where people get in trouble and freak out.  Just a couple minutes to prep your ingredients will make you a stir fry pro!


Kung Pao Chicken

Vegetable oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced thin
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
10 oz. package fresh sugar snap peas
8 oz. package button mushrooms, quartered
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
½ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon sambal olek (more or less, depending on your preference)
To serve: rice, peanuts

In a large glass bowl, mix together chicken, sesame oil, and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a bowl, stir together hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and next 4 ingredients. Set aside.

Heat a large, deep skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. When oil is smoking slightly, add the chicken. You will probably need to do this in a couple batches. You don’t want to crowd the pan or the chicken will just steam and not stir fry, ew! Cook chicken 2-3 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add a little more oil to the pan and let heat. Add carrots and onion and stir fry 2 minutes. Add sugar snap peas and stir fry another 2-3 minutes or until veggies start to get a little color but still have their crunch. Add mushrooms and water chestnuts. Cook 1 minute more.

Add chicken back to pan. Pour in sauce. Stir everything together and bring to a bubble. Sauce will start to thicken. If you want your sauce a little thicker, add a cornstarch slurry (dissolve a spoonful of cornstarch in a little cold water and add to pan). If you want it saucier I recommend adding a little more hoisin.

Serve over white or brown rice and top with peanuts.

Serves 4 good size servings.  Great for dinner with leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Source: Ruth’s Table, 2017

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