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We haven’t dabbled with Chinese cookery for a while now. We all love it and I’ve missed it a lot. To be completely honest, our once plentiful Chinese condiment store has sadly depleted after heavy use, and is in desperate need of replenishing! However, we did manage to scrape enough together to create a wonderful meal on Friday night. I’m still thinking about how tasty it was.

If you’re interested in Chinese cuisine, let me recommend a great book – ‘Classic Chinese Cookbook’ by Yan-Kit So. It gives a comprehensive all round account of how to prepare and cook Chinese food, plus a whole host of family recipes. We refer to it frequently and have cooked many of the dishes. This one, I have to say, is probably my favourite.

To make our version of ‘Kung Pao Chicken’ (serves two generously) you will need:
– 570g of chicken breast (cubed)
– 60ml of sunflower oil
– Two to three 3 inch long dried red chillies (seeded/finely chopped)
– Three garlic cloves (peeled/diagonally sliced)
– Ten thin slices of fresh ginger
– One and a half tablespoons of Shaohsing wine
– Four spring onions (cut into small rounds)
– 75g of dry roasted peanuts

For the marinade:
– Half a teaspoon of salt
– One tablespoon of light soy sauce
– One tablespoon of Shaohsing wine
– One and a half teaspoons of cornflour
– One egg white (lightly beaten)

For the sauce:
– One and a half tablespoons of dark soy sauce
– One tablespoon of chilli sauce
– One tablespoon of white wine vinegar
– One tablespoon of sugar
– Two teaspoons of cornflour
– 120ml of water

Method:
– Cut the chicken into cubes and place in a bowl.
– Mix the marinade ingredients together and add to the chicken. Stir well and leave for up to a couple of hours (preferable no less than half an hour) in the fridge.
– Mix together the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
– Heat a wok over a high heat until it begins to smoke. Add the oil, then the dried chilli. Stir, then add the garlic and ginger. Stir to release the aromas.
– Tip in the chicken and toss for about a minute. Splash in the wine around the sides of the wok and continue to stir.
– Add the spring onions and continue to stir for another minute or until the chicken is almost cooked through.
– Add the sauce to the wok and continue to stir while it thickens.
– Lastly, add the peanuts and mix well.
– Serve immediately.

We had ours alongside some egg fried rice, which compliments it perfectly. To make this (serves two) you will need:
– 220g of basmati rice (cooked/cooled)
– One tablespoon of sunflower oil
– One handful of frozen peas
– Two eggs (beaten)
– Three tablespoons of light soy sauce
– One tablespoon of sesame oil
– Two spring onions (chopped)

Method:
– Cook the rice, cool to room temperature then spread it out on a baking tray, cover with cling film and refrigerate until needed.
– Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the peas and shake the pan for a minute.
– Add the eggs and move around the pan until they start to set. Add the rice and heat through until piping hot, stirring occasionally.
– Stir through the remaining ingredients when cooked.

Kung Pao (sometimes referred to as ‘Kung Po’) is something we always order on the rare occasion that we decide to buy a takeaway. I especially love the crunch of the peanuts – such a wonderful texture. I was delighted to learn that it can taste this delicious when cooked at home.

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