Kung po chicken

Kung po chicken
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Originating in the Sichuan Province of south-western China, Kung po chicken is a spicy stir-fried dish of chicken, chillies and peanuts. The original dish, containing Sichuan peppercorns, has been described as mouth numbing but there are many regional variations resulting in different degrees of heat.

This is a westernised version but if you want a bit more authenticity throw in a few Sichuan peppercorns when you are frying the chilli and garlic.

Kecap manis is an Indonesian condiment. It’s a dark soy sauce, sweetened with jaggery and reduced to make a thick, sweet sauce with a hint of molasses. As there is so little in this recipe you could substitute it with extra dark soy sauce and a pinch of palm or dark muscovado sugar. It will give a slightly different result but you will still have a very enjoyable dish.

Serves 4

350 g chicken breast
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
1-2 long dried red chillies
2 cloves garlic, diagonally sliced
4-6 thin slices ginger
1 tablespoon shaohsing wine or dry sherry
3 spring onions, cut into small rounds
50 g roasted peanuts
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons thin soy sauce
2 teaspoons shaohsing wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 tablespoon egg white, lightly beaten
¾ tablespoon dark soy
½ tablespoon kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
1 tablespoon piri piri sauce
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons cornflour
6 tablespoon water


Cut the chicken breasts into thin strips lengthways and then into 2 cm cubes. Put in a bowl and add the marinade ingredients. Mix well and set aside for 15 – 30 minutes.

Mix all the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Heat a frying pan or wok over a high until just starting to smoke. Add the oil and swirl it around.

Add the dried chilli, garlic and ginger and stir it around before tipping in the chicken. Toss everything together for about 60 seconds.

Splash the wine or sherry around the side of the pan, stirring and tossing continuously.

Add the spring onion and stir-fry for another 30-45 seconds. The chicken should be almost cooked at this point.

Stir the sauce again to make sure it is well mixed then add to the chicken, Continue to stir until the sauce has thickened.

Mix in the peanuts then transfer to a warmed serving dish. Serve immediately.

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