Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kung Pao Chicken!

Sunday night I took some chicken out of the freezer so it would be ready to use for dinner on Monday night. Most weeks/days I don't know what I'm going to make for dinner. Usually I just pick out a recipe at the end of the day at work and stop at the grocery store on the way home. I would like to get more organized by making a menu for every week and go to the grocery store on Sundays.. would being the key word here :)

This Monday was no exception... at the end of the day I found a recipe for 'Kung Pao Chicken' on Pinterest. I think I'm seeing a pattern here... I had all of the ingredients at the house except the carrots and soy sauce... which we had ran out of the night before. I stopped to get a few things from the store and was on my way home to start making din.

I love cooking but I am still working on my prep skills. It usually takes me a little longer than the time on the recipe; which is ok with me I just know I have to start a little earlier ;) Here is the recipe with some pictures*!
*I am still getting used to taking a picture for each step. So there aren't as many as there could be! I promise I will work on that!

Ingredients you will need:
1lb Boneless Chicken Breasts
3 Tbsp Veggie Oil (divided)
3 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar (divided)
3 Tbsp Soy Sauce (divided)
2 Tbsp Corn Starch (divided)
2 Tbsp Water (divided)
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Chili Sauce -I used Chili Garlic Sauce - you can find this in the Asian section of your local grocery store
2 Tsp Minced Garlic
2 Tsp Sesame Seed Oil
1/2 Bunch Green Onions - or you can use the whole bunch or however much you want to use!
1 Medium Bell Pepper - I used a small Cajun Bell Pepper & Small Green Bell Pepper from our garden
About 3-4 Whole Carrots -Depending on size and how many carrots you want in your dish
1/2 Roasted Unsalted Peanuts -Here I used the honey roasted peanuts we had in the pantry
1.5 cups Uncooked Jasmine Rice -I didn't make this much, this is the amount of rice you would make if 6 adults were eating

Here's how I made the Kung Pao Chicken 

1: Prepare the marinade for the chicken. In a medium sized bowl dissolve 1 Tbsp corn starch with 1 Tbsp water (I like to put the cornstarch in and pour the water on top, then stir until dissolved). Then add 1 Tbsp veggie oil, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp rice wine, and 2 tsp minced garlic. Stir to combine.

2: Cut the chicken into small chunks and put into the bowl you made the marinade in. Stir to coat. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 30 min.

The chicken after marinating for a little over 30 min.

3: While the chicken is marinating, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, dissolve 1 Tbsp corn starch in 1 Tbsp water. Then add 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp sesame seed oil. Stir to combine and dissolve the brown sugar. Let it sit while you prep the veggies, stirring every once and while to make sure sugar is dissolved.

This is what the sauce looks like when you stir for the first time. Let sit and it will all combine.

4: Prep the veggies. Dice the bell pepper. Slice the carrots thinly (you can use a mandolin, a knife or a peeler) get them as thin as you can. Slice the green onions, both white and green - keep them separate! Measure out the 1/2 cup of peanuts.

5: Cook the rice - add the rice to a medium pot and add water (if you want to make 6 servings you need to measure out 1 1/2 cups of rice and 2 1/2 cups of water - so if you use 1/2 cup of rice you should add 1 1/2 cups of water - you always want more water than you have rice) Place the lid on top and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as  the water boils, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20 min. When the timer goes off, turn off the burner and let the rice sit until ready to use (Don't open the lid! - it will let all the steam out that is going to keep it warm before you fluff it and serve)

Rice + Water

6: Heat 2 Tbsp veggie oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil gets hot (you will know by the waves that form in the oil), add the white part of the green onions you chopped. Stir and cook for 30 seconds - 1 minute. Add the chicken. Cook and stir until the chicken is cooked through. If your pieces are small enough this will only take about 5 minutes - the smaller you cut the chicken the faster it will cook. The chicken will feel firm when it is done - cut a piece in half if you are unsure.

7: Add the veggies and peanuts to the skillet. Stir to combine. Add the sauce immediately (for crunchy veggies - for softer veggies wait 3-5 minutes before adding sauce) cook until sauce is thicken - about 2-3 minutes.

Pan right after adding veggies, peanuts and sauce.

Pan after letting sauce simmer for about 3 minutes. 

8: Fluff rice with a fork. Serve the chicken over the rice. Garnish with sliced green onions and ENJOY! :)

Fluff your rice with a fork before serving!


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