This infamous dish was once thought to have derived from Chinese takeouts from the western world is actually a traditional Szechuan dish, a favourite of the sichuan governor of the Qing dynasty Ding Baozhen, legend has it that he loved the dish so much it was served on a regular basis and a must amongst hosting his guest. The name Kung Pao literally translated as Palace Guardian and was given to the dish by the people of Szechuan in honor of it’s biggest fan.This is my rendition of Kung Pao chicken,it’s evolved far from the original; turmeric, contains great anti-inflammitory properties, uncommon in Chinese dishes but vastly used by the Malaysian Peranakan during the height of the spice trade, rockets leaves are native to Mediterranean region, my intuition called upon crunchy bean combo to be added for texture, I guess the only reminisce from the original dish is the flavouring of the gravy and the dried red chillies which is a norm in most Szechuan dishes. What an unintended international dish this has become.
Kung Pao Chicken
- 300g chicken pieces.
- 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil.
- 10 dried red chilli rinsed with water.
- 2 white onions cut into chunks.
- 1 carrot peeled into strips using the potato peeler.
- 80 grams crunchy sprouts * you can substitute this with cut bits capsicum, carrots, cucumber or whatever vegetables you have at hand.
- 1 handful rocket or salad leaves of you choosing.
- 1/2 teaspoon honey.
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce/Bragg’s Amino.
- 1 tablespoon rice wine.
- Black pepper to taste.
1. Begin while by marinating the chicken pieces with a tablespoon of turmeric. Cover and let it in the fridge for a minimum of 5 minutes or while you prep the vegetables.
2. In a heated skillet/wok add in the olive oil, chicken pieces, and dried chillies to sauté add in the onions once the chicken is browned.
3. After about 2minutes add in the remainder vegetables, sprouts, along with sauce mix, turn off the heat and give it a good stir.
4. Serve up with a side of brown rice.
If you don’t have rice wine feel free to substitute with dry white wine or brandy.
To cut down time little bit of prep work during the weekend will help, keep the chicken marinated frozen in freezer bags, cut up the veggies in ready to go portions. All you’ll need to is to thaw the chicken in the fridge before work and a quick stir fry before serving.
For the extra convenience you may want to consider purchasing ready to go heat and serve rice packs from reputable brands such as Sunrice or Uncle Ben’s, they come in single and double portions depending on your requirement.