When my mother came up with the name of her first cookbook the term "All-American" only seemed fit. After all, she was 1st generation Chinese married to an American, Irish, Norwegian man living in Nebraska where traditional Chinese ingredients were not made readily available. It isn't until now that I truly understand the meaning of the All-American... (read more)

Archive for October 16th, 2008




Kung Pao Chicken

Ever wonder what “Kung Pao” is exactly? Besides being one of the most popular dishes in a Chinese restaurant, it’s a classic Szechuan dish named for a 19th century governor of the Sichuan province in China. So there’s the history lesson for the day but all you really need to know is, Caution! Do not to eat the dried red peppers as they are extremely hot. And if you have ever eaten one by mistake, you know exactly what we mean 🙂

1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 small green bell pepper
½ small yellow onion
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
4 dried red chili peppers
½ cup dry roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce*
1 tablespoon white vinegar

3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman brand)
1 tablespoon rice wine or cooking sherry wine
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil

Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch cubes. Crush, peel and finely chop the garlic. In a bowl, combine chicken with the marinade ingredients. Mix together thoroughly and set aside. Wash, discard stem and seeds from green pepper and cut into 1 inch squares. Chop onion into ½ inch squares.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a non-stick wok or a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Break each of the dried chili peppers in half and add to wok. Cook the peppers for 1 to 2 minutes until darkened. Add chicken cubes and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes until the chicken is nearly cooked through. Add green peppers, onions, dry roasted peanuts, hoisin sauce and white vinegar. Stir-fry for another 1 to 2 more minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 7 minutes

*Hoisin sauce is a sweet brown sauce made from soybeans. Sold in jars or bottles at the Asian section of most supermarkets.  After opening, it can be stored for several months in the refrigerator.

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