Monday, November 22, 2010

Kung Pao Chicken

One of the dishes that I ordered more than once in Beijing was Kung Pao chicken. This dish is a schezuan staple. While the meal above was tasty, it wasn't as spicy as I had hoped it would be and I ended up drowning it in chili oil. Apparently, I've built up quite the tolerance over the last couple of years. Make sure you use unsalted peanuts or the dish will be ruined and control the heat using more or less chilies.

Kung Pao Chicken
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 large egg whites
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups peanut oil
6 dried red chilies
1½ cups unsalted peanuts
6 tablespoons minced garlic
½ cup finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1/3 cup chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1/3 cup Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
5 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons Chinese black rice vinegar.

1. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, egg whites, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil and 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch. Mix well.

2. Place a large wok over high heat until hot. Add peanut oil. When oil is very hot, remove wok from heat and immediately add chicken pieces, stirring to keep them from sticking. When the pieces are white on all sides, after 2 to 3 minutes, drain them and all the oil through a stainless-steel colander in a heatproof bowl. Reserve 5 tablespoons of the oil, and discard remainder.

3. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1/3 cup water; mix well and set aside. Reheat wok with reserved oil. When very hot, add chilies and stir-fry until slightly blackened. Add peanuts, garlic, scallions and ginger, and stir-fry until lightly browned.

4. Add chicken pieces, stock, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil. Mix well, and stir in cornstarch mixture. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, then reduce heat to low and let mixture sit for 2 to 3 minutes. Mix again, and serve.



An old friend from high school reached out to me on Facebook and told me about this new company he started with some friends called Teaspoon Willies. He was nice enough to send us a couple bottles to check it out and sure enough we blew through it in a matter of weeks. It's good on everything from eggs to marinades and even in bloody mary's. Fall weather has arrived and football is well under way. I can't think of a better way to use Teaspoon Willie's sauce than in this savory chili recipe. To get some of your own sauce, visit their site. Thanks for sharing this with us, Kevin!

• 1.5 lb of ground beef/buffalo
• 1 large yellow onion, chopped
• 1 yellow green pepper, chopped
• 1 charred pablano pepper*
• 2 charred hatch chili’s (medium heat)*
• 1-2 carrots, chopped
• 1-2 stalks of celery
• 1 can of black beans
• 1 can of pinto beans
• 1 can of navy beans
• ¼ Cup of olive oil
• handful fresh parsley
• handful fresh cilantro
• 4 cloves garlic
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1 bottle of Teaspoon Willie’s Spicy or Everything Sauce
• 2-3 lbs tomato sauce all natural/organic
• 1 can of tomato paste

*To char put the pablano and hatch chilies in a bowl and cover with olive oil and salt.
Make sure the pablano and hatch chilies are covered well. Turn on the grill or
broiler and char the outside. After they are charred, let them cool and chop up the
peppers. Make sure you keep the burned skin on the peppers, it gives great flavor
to the chili.

Heat a pot to medium-high. Chop up all the veggies, herbs, and spices. Put some oil
in the pot and mix veggies, herbs and spices. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Next add beef/buffalo and the charred pablano and
hatch chilies. Chop up meat until it becomes fine, about 3-4min. Add about 10 oz of
Teaspoon Willie’s, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Drain the beans of their liquid
and add to the pot as well. Let this simmer on low-medium for a couple of hours. Add
more Teaspoon Willie’s if you want to bring out more flavor.

*Remember that Teaspoon Willie’s Spicy will build heat with prolonged cooking.
This will produce VERY spicy Chili with phenomenally great taste. Add some of your
favorite cheese and/or sour cream (this will also bring down the spiciness). Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Back from Beijing!

Dear Reader, I am finally back from a long trip to Beijing. I have over a hundred pics and a couple videos from my culinary journey that I cannot wait to share with you. For starters, here are some pictures taken from the Wangfujing Night market. As you can see, some pretty crazy stuff there that I was not brave enough to try.

On another note, Blogger has locked me out of my account so I am posting using my best friend's account. If you see Carrie, that's me until I can sort it out. More soon. Promise!