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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Kung Pao Chicken with Vegetables

My mom is such an inspiration to my learning to cook. She said when she first started cooking, she was not confidant at all, especially when she would have guests over, she would start to panic because not only does she have to figure out what to make, she also needed to make sure they LIKED what she made!! :p Well, now, whenever we have family gatherings, relatives would come over with an empty stomach and wait anxiously for my mom's cooking (pretending not to be hungry and pig-like, just chit chatting away, but we all knew they were constantly eying over the kitchen wondering when the food would be ready). She has a reputation amongst our relatives as a great cook. She rarely uses recipes and will know exactly the right amount of flavorings needed for an amazing dish.

Not only does she like to cook, my mom loves creating her own dishes from something original. For example, the Kung Pao Chicken is a very popular dish that originated from Sichuan province in China (usually comes with just chicken and peanuts) but my mom will make her own version of Kung Pao Chicken with extra vegetables such as adding in potatoes, carrots, and celery. Not only does this make an already great dish amazing, she also incorporates vegetables into her dishes for that extra nutritional value.

Kung Pao Chicken is so good that it became popular in the western cultures such as the US and Canada. You will definitely find this dish in any Sichuan Chinese restaurant. The history behind how we came about the name "Kung Pao Chicken" is quite interesting. In the Qing Dynsasty, there was an official/governor by the name of Ding Baozhen. He loved chicken with peanuts as this was one of his favorite dishes. Ding spent many years managing Sichuan province and the civilians loved him as he was well known for all the good deeds he has done for his people. He was nicknamed as "GongBao" which means "officer who governs the palace". This is a very honorable title, sort of like a title "Duke of England". Hence, Sichuan province named his favorite food as GongBao chicken which is now Kung Pao Chicken. I like the usage of Kung Pao more as it gives it that emphasis in sound - the "K" and the "Pow" gives this dish name an extra umph!!

Ok, here goes my replica of my mom's Kung Pao Chicken with Vegetables.

 Dice up carrots, potatoes, and celeries. FYI - I forgot to use celery in my recipe which I recommend you add when you make yours.
 Diced chicken breast (1 lb). Spread out on pan and fry for 2 minutes each side.

It should look like this after both sides are cooked, stir it around.
In a separate wok or pan, cook the potatoes, carrots, and celeries. 

 This is the oyster sauce I used. 

 Add the cashews or peanuts! And serve! :)

Serving: about 5

1 lb chicken breast (boneless and skinless), diced
4 slices ginger, thinned
1 TBSP rice wine (add while chicken is cooking)
1/2 tsp pepper (add while chicken is cooking)
1/2 cup cashews or peanuts

MARINATE CHICKEN (for 1/2 hour):
1 TBSP rice wine
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp soy sauce
1 TBSP corn starch

1/2 onion, diced
1 whole scallion (head and green part)
2-3 medium sized potatoes, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1.5 cup water
1 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
2 TBSP oyster sauce

After dicing the chicken, marinate it for at least 1/2 an hour with rice wine, sugar, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and corn starch. 

After at least half an hour marinating, heat up pan for 2 minutes (high heat), add the ginger and stir for 1 minute. Then add the chicken and cook about 2 minutes each side, spreading the chicken out on the pan. Add more rice wine and pepper while it is cooking. Then stir it around and break up the pieces.

In another pan, heat oil (high), then add onions and head of scallion (save green part for later). Stir for 3 minutes and add potatoes, carrots, water, and soy sauce. (Leave the celery for later as it cooks faster). Lower the heat to medium low, cover and let boil for 8-10 minutes. After 8-10 minutes, see if the potatoes and carrots are soft, if so, add in the celery, salt, sugar, sesame oil, oyster sauce. Cook for 2 more minutes. Pour the cooked chicken over the sauce, mix and top it off with the green part of scallion. Stir and cook one more minute and serve! Add cashews or peanuts on top! Serve and Enjoy! :) 

Hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did. Have a good weekend everyone. Stay tuned! Read older posts for now!

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