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Kung Pao Chicken

Recipe byslavigne

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes


For the chicken and sauce:

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper
1 tablespoon Chinese black or rice vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon sambal oelek or chile-garlic paste

For the stir-fry:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 medium bell peppers, large dice
2 medium celery stalks, thinly sliced on a slight diagonal
Kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger (from a 1-inch piece)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
2 medium scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
Steamed rice, for serving (optional)

  1. Marinate the chicken. Place the chicken in a medium bowl. Place the tamari or soy sauce, wine or sherry, cornstarch, sesame oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until the cornstarch is dissolved. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the mixture over the chicken and toss to combine; set the chicken aside.

  2. Make the sauce. Add the vinegar, sugar, and sambal to the remaining marinade and whisk until the sugar is dissolved; set this sauce aside.

  3. Stir-fry the vegetables and aromatics. Heat a flat-bottomed wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat until very hot (a flick of water should sizzle and evaporate right away), about 2 minutes. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of the oil, add the bell peppers and celery, and season with salt. Stir-fry with a metal spatula until crisp-tender and browned in spots, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate.

  4. Stir-fry the chicken. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons oil into the pan. Add the chicken and spread into an even layer. Let cook undisturbed until golden-brown and seared on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir-fry until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more.

  5. Return the vegetables to the pan and stir-fry with the sauce. Add the reserved vegetables and peanuts to the pan. Rewhisk the reserved sauce to dissolve the cornstarch. Pour into the pan and stir-fry until the sauce thickens, is glossy, and evenly coats everything in the pan, about 1 minute more. Sprinkle with the scallions if using and serve immediately with rice.



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