You’ll need 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. From TCF, I usually get 1 package of split breasts on the bone and bone them myself – it’s less expensive, and not very difficult, but that’s another post.
If you have a wok, this recipe will go easily. If not, use your largest skillet and consider using two turning utensils instead of one to keep the food moving over the heat. My wok is 35 years old and made of spun steel. It’s developed a little patina over the years, so don’t let that throw you in the pictures.
You can refrigerate the leftover Kung Pao on top of the leftover rice, and it is a great chicken salad eaten cold or room temp…if it lasts that long! The usual caveats stand about using sherry. NEVER use “cooking sherry”. Always use something that is at least drinkable…and “cream sherry” is not for cooking. I use Christian Brothers Dry Sherry. Inexpensive and it does the trick.
The bottled ingredients are also available in almost any grocery store. (...and you can click all the pictures for a larger view...)
1 Tb. each, dry sherry and cornstarch
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper (white is preferred, but not necessary)
1 ½ lb. skinned, boned chicken breasts cut into bit-sized pieces (or 1 ½ lb. shelled & deveined medium shrimp)
1 C roasted, salted peanuts, shelled
1 ½ Tb. each: minced garlic and minced ginger
1 – 1 ½ bunches scallions, sliced
4 Tb. soy sauce
1 Tb. Thai chili sauce (or other hot sauce)
2 Tb. each: white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar and dry sherry
6 Tb. chicken broth
4 Tb. sugar (optional)
3 Tb. cornstarch
While the chicken is marinating, shell the peanuts. I shell them on a dish towel. Then I gather up the towel and rub the outside well – that loosens the paper covers. I take a small handful over the sink and very lightly blow away any remaining paper, then put them into the measuring cup.
You can prepare the garlic, ginger and scallions just before you start cooking.
When it’s time for dinner:
While the rice is cooking, heat your wok over high heat. When it’s hot, add 3 Tb. of the peanut oil. Add the peanuts and stir constantly. When they are just beginning to brown, start removing them from the pan to paper towels to drain. If any burn, throw them out. This step flavors the oil.