Introduction: Pete's Kung Po Chicken

I happen to like Chinese take-away quite a bit but don't always want to spend money. If you have the ingredients at home Kung Po is a quick and rewarding meal!

To feed two you will need:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3-5 spring onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3-5 chilli peppers
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns (well worth the investment if you don't have these)
  • a handful of peanuts
  • an inch of ginger
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 chicken stock cube

Because I like veg, I also like to add the following:

  • 1-2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red bell pepper (I didn't include that one here)

Step 1: Get Marinading!

Chop your chicken breasts into small cubes. Make a marinade from 1 teaspoon each of sugar, rice wine and light soy sauce. Stir the marinade in with the chicken and leave for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile...

Step 2: Chop Things!

Chop up your veg nice and small to speed up the cooking time.

Dice the onion while you stub your toe (of course that's why you're crying!)
Crush that poor garlic and discard the weakest of the lot, they aren't good enough for this dish!
See those spring onions that aren't having a good day? Give them the send off they deserve!
Look at that ginger root looking smug. Chop it in half, skin it, and then make ginger-noodles out of it's delicious body.
Slice the chilli peppers and keep their babies. THEN WASH YOUR HANDS.

Step 3: Toast Your Nuts!

I am not an expert at nut-toasting as can be evidenced from these images. I certainly had them on too high of a heat, but I'll blame that on the infernal ceramic hob that taunts me and goads me into turning up the heat too much, for fear of an ice-age passing before the hob does anything remotely useful.

Keep the temperature on medium to low unless you've done it before. Check and shake every minute religiously, otherwise the pesky blighters will burn. Believe me.

Step 4: Get Cooking!

Now it's time for the main event. Get your rice cooking by whichever method you usually do. I prefer jasmine rice for it's stickiness.

Get the temperature high, and add a couple of drops of sesame oil into the wok. Once it's heated up, throw in about half of the chilli and the Sichuan peppers. Stir quickly until fragrant, then add the marinated chicken. Stir and let cook until the chicken is almost white on the outside, then throw in the rest of the chopped vegetables.

Make up the sauce by first adding a tablespoon of boiling water to the chicken stock cube and stirring until dissolved. Then add the rest of the rice wine, soy sauces, sugar and sesame oil.

After 5 minutes or so the vegetables will have started to cook down. Add the sauce, stir and taste. If it's not got enough kick to it, add the rest of the chilli.

Finally, after about 10-15 minutes total, the chicken and vegetables should be suitably cooked and your rice will be ready. Add the peanuts, stir once more, and serve.

Step 5: Eat!

Either serve up a suitable portion and accept that you'll have to get up once more for seconds, or give yourself a large serving and make a new years resolution. Personally, I tend to choose the latter.

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