A friend of mine and I have made Food & Wine’s recipe many times, which is great! But this time I wanted to make something a little different with the recipe. The added lettuce does make a difference, and it’s a good way to sneak in some greens, which I don’t get enough of… I really should start eating more salads. Kung Pao is a classic Szechuan Cuisine dish, originating in Central-Western China. It is said that it was named after a Qing Dynasty Official, because this was one of this favorite meals.
Kung Pao Chicken with Lettuce
Adapted from Food & Wine’s recipe
4 skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar or rice vinegar
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 cup peanuts
4 scallions, white bulbs and green tops cut separately into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
1/2 cup white rice
1 cup water
1/4 cups shredded carrot
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Shredded iceberg lettuce
- In a small pot, bring the rice, shredded carrot, garlic powder and 1 cup of water to a boil over medium heat. Let boil 1min, then cover the pot tightly and adjust the heat to its lowest temperature and let sit unopened for 20 minutes.
- While the rice cooks, in a medium bowl, toss the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
- In a small bowl, combine the sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, water, and the remaining 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch.
- In a wok or large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the peanuts and stir-fry until light brown, about 30 seconds. Remove from the pan. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the white part of the scallions and the red-pepper flakes to the pan and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the chicken with its marinade and cook, stirring, until almost done, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the soy-sauce mixture and the scallion tops and simmer until the chicken is just done, about 1 minute longer. Stir in the peanuts. Serve over a bed of shredded lettuce topped with rice.
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