Monday, August 20, 2012

Kung Pao Chicken - First Try

This always seems to happen. Whitney goes off to college and there is a meat sale and the freezer is full immediately. This time I was not the instigator...Dan was at the grocery store and chicken breasts were on sale. He bought four packages of them. So into the freezer they went. Now to come up with recipes to use them.

We love Asian food but have a hard time making it at home. It used to be you could never find the ingredients but now they are much more accessible. At first I was looking through my Food and Wine cookbook but Dan said lets try and find something more authentic. So of course I went to (because nothing says authentic but that). I found a Kung Pao Chicken recipe that had hundreds of comments and 4 1/2 stars so I figured it would be good.

Kung Pao Chicken
courtesy of

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into chunks
2 T white wine
2 T soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
2 T cornstarch dissolved in 2 T water
1 ounce hot chile paste
1 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
4 green onions, chopped
1 T chopped garlic
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts
4 ounces chopped peanuts

1. Make marinade for chicken - Combine 1 T wine, 1 T soy sauce, 1 T oil, 1 T cornstarch/1T water and mix together. Put chicken pieces into a ziploc bag and add marinade. Put in fridge for 30 minutes.

2. Make sauce - In small bowl combine 1 T wine, 1 T soy sauce, 1 T oil, 1 T cornstarch/water mixture, chile paste, vinegar and sugar. Mix together and add green onion, garlic, water chestnuts and peanuts. In medium skillet heat sauce slowly until aromatic.

3. Remove chicken from marinade and saute in a large skillet until meat is white and juices run clear. When sauce is aromatic, add sauteed chicken to it and let simmer together until sauce thickens.

That sounds easy doesn't it. Well there are a few problems here. First of all the chicken ended up bland (even with chile paste). You need to salt the chicken to start and you need to add salt in the sauce.

The sauce is thick to start with so you need to probably double everything. Cut back on the peanuts by at least half. Make sure and cut your water chestnuts in half or fourths (even the sliced ones are too big).

We served this over rice vermicilli which I loved. I've always wanted to try it and this worked well.

So we will continue our quest for good Asian recipes. We aren't afraid of spicy so go ahead and send them to me.


  1. It sounds good. I wonder if there's something you can add for extra flavor?
    This is a dumb question, but what kind of white wine did you use? I don't cook with wine because I never know what kind to get.

  2. That looks mighty tasty! Good work!