Here’s a spicy Sichuan dish, Gong Bao Ji Ding otherwise known as Kung Pao Chicken.  The flavors of soy sauce, ginger and garlic are most prevalent, but topped with thin slices of fresno pepper, fresh cilantro and thin slices of lime zest really adds another layer of tastiness to this stir fry.

You can choose chicken thighs or breasts for this dish.  I cut 1 1/2 pounds of chicken thighs into small bite size pieces.

Season the chicken pieces with soy sauce, salt, wine, and dry cornstarch.

Mix it all together and let it sit a few minutes.

Meanwhile we can make some sauce.

Start by dissolving 2 tablespoons cornstarch in 1/2 cup chicken broth. Stir it with a wire whisk until it is completely dissolved.

Combine 2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/4 cup soy sauce.

Time to add the cornstarch broth mixture.

Grate a 2 inch piece of ginger on a coarse microplane grater.

And slide it into the sauce.

And some minced garlic.

The green onion tops will go in with the chicken when it’s cooking and I’ve decided to add a little red fresno pepper, fresh cilantro and lime zest curls to go on top.

Slice the red pepper real thin and the lime zest pieces too.

You’ll need some dried red chili peppers.  If you want it hotter, leave some of the seeds intact.  Otherwise remove the stem and seeds.

I like to toast the Chile de Arbol in some hot peanut oil.  It only takes a few seconds.  Just crank up the heat and get it to almost smoking and they will toast up to a rich dark color.

Transfer them to a plate lined with a paper towel and when they have cooled, give them a rough chop. They will almost crumble under the knife.

Time for the chicken to go in the hot peanut oil along with the roughly chopped chili’s.  If you use a stainless steel pan like I did, the chicken tends to stick so I just put a lid on it for a few minutes.  The chicken will come loose when it’s ready and you can stir fry until the chicken is cooked throughout.

It’s starting to look good.

Stir up your sauce real good, get that cornstarch mixture dissolved again, then pour over the cooked chicken pieces.

The sauce will start to thicken with the aroma of ginger, garlic and soy sauce filling the kitchen.

Add the green onion last, you want it to lightly wilt, not cook down completely.

I know you all are thinking, where are the peanuts?  Well, most recipes have steeped raw peanuts that are cooked along with the chicken, but my boys don’t like the peanuts, so I compromised and had some roasted peanuts on the side for those of us who like them.

And here’s my Kung Pao Chicken with Jasmine Rice. Sprinkle on some peanuts, red pepper, lime slivers, and cilantro if you wish.  It sure was tasty with all that goodness on top.

Kung Pao Chicken

1 1/2 pounds Chicken Thighs or Breasts, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 teaspoons White Wine
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
1/4 cup Roasted Peanuts
Peanut Oil
2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
2 tablespoons Sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken broth
6 dried red chiles, Chile de Arbol’s are a good choice, stems and seeds removed
4 Green Onion, sliced julienne, green part only
2 inch piece of Ginger, grated on coarse microplane grater
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Red Fresno Chiles, thinly sliced, optional
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, optional
thinly sliced lime zest, optional

Season the diced chicken with 2 tablespoon soy sauce, salt and white wine.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cornstarch and mix well.  Set aside.

Make the sauce by first dissolving 2 tablespoons cornstarch in 1/2 cup chicken broth.  Combine 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 cup soy sauce.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce and whisk until all ingredients are well blended.  Add the grated ginger and minced garlic.

Pour just enough peanut oil into a large pan or wok and heat until almost smoking.  Add the chiles, and cook just until they become a rich dark color.  Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.  Add chicken to the pan to stir fry.  Roughly chop the chiles and add to the chicken.  Continue to stir fry the chicken until it is completely cooked throughout.  Add the sauce to the chicken mixture.  It will start to thicken, at this point add the sliced green onion pieces and stir to coat.  Transfer to a platter and serve with rice.

Top with roasted peanuts, fresh cilantro, red fresno pepper and lime zest pieces if desired.

Serves 4 – 6