I’ve been working on this recipe for a while. It started out as the marinade for my Spicy Asian Shrimp and evolved from there.
Please make an effort to find both the black bean sauce and the Sichuan peppercorns. The sauce adds a lot of depth and heat to the dish and the peppercorns provide that unique tingling/numbing sensation that offsets the heat.
1 pound chicken (I used tenders), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1/4 cup peanuts
4-6 dried whole tien tsin peppers
½ cup sliced scallions, chopped
4 whole garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Kung Pao Sauce
1 teaspoon chili paste with garlic
1 tablespoon black bean chili sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Put the chicken pieces in a zip-top bag and pour the marinade over them. Turn to coat, then squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it up, and stash in the fridge while you prepare the sauce.
Combine the chili paste, black bean sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, wine and cornstarch. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the cornstarch is fully incorporated.
Heat a wok with oil over medium-high heat. Before the oil begins to smoke, add the chilies and garlic. Stir-fry briefly until the chilis are slightly blistered and black and oil is slightly fragrant. Add the chicken and stir-fry for a few minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Pour in sauce and mix to coat the other ingredients. When the sauce is thickened and shiny, stir in peanuts, cilantro, and spinach. Mix to coat, reduce heat and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes until the spinach is wilted.
Garnish with thinly sliced scallions, and serve.
This is a quick and tasty dish that saves us from the nutritional horrors of take-out. It’s sweet, sour, salty, and hot all at the same time.
1 1/2 cups is 435 calories and 9 Weight Watchers points. Adding the cilantro and spinach and cutting back on the peanuts makes this a much lighter recipe. Serve it with a little brown rice and a lot of steamed broccoli and it is very filling.