Kung Pao Chicken (sort of)

This recipe is from my friend A.H., who spent two years after college in China.  When SHE makes this, it tastes authentically Chinese.  When I make this, it tastes like a good attempt of a decent cook at coming up with something Chinese (maybe because I substituted three or four things).  Try it out anyway, though.  It's a nice change from the norm ... (Thanks, A.H.!)

Kung Pao Chicken

Marinating sauce:
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine or sherry (
I didn't have this, so I used rice wine VINEGAR instead)
¾ to 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger root  (
used a sprinkle or two of dried ginger instead)
1½ tbsp. cornstarch

I added in 1/4 tsp. chili oil to the marinade for a little spice
1 lb. tender chicken breast meat, tendons removed, cut in ½-in. cubes

Seasoning sauce:
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine or sherry (
again, substituted an equal amount of rice wine VINEGAR instead)
1 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. sesame oil (
I used vegetable oil, because I didn’t have any canola)
2 tsp. cornstarch

Other ingredients:  
½ c. canola or corn oil
½ c. peanuts, roasted and lightly salted (
I omitted this)
6 to 8 dried red peppers (
how about 1 Tbsp. dried crushed red peppers, anyone?)
2 to 3 green onions, chopped, with 1 tbsp. reserved for garnish

In a shallow dish, stir together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine, ginger root and 1½ tablespoons cornstarch. Add chicken and marinate for 30 minutes.  

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the seasoning sauce; set aside.  

Place all ingredients and the seasoning sauce within easy reach of the stove.  Put the canola oil in a wok or heavy skillet and heat until almost smoking.   Add the dried red peppers, the chicken, and the green onions, and stir-fry over high heat until all the pinkness is gone.  Add the seasoning sauce. Stir until thickened. Stir in peanuts. Enjoy! 

The semester is almost over which means ... 
... I get my husband back from the land of academia soon.  I'm very much looking forward to it ... 
... potlucks start up in just a few weeks (and we're hoping A.H. will bring some authentic Chinese dishes!) ...
... the peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli will go in the ground in mere days ... 
... I can stop wearing socks for at least the next few months (ok, well, this has more to do with summer coming than with the semester ending, but the two are identical for me) ... 
... more time for experimenting with fun recipes from friends!

One more thing ... last weekend my friend Chantry and I hosted a fun jam-making party at her house, and ended up with more jam than we know what to do with!  Check out her blog for a run-down of the events and some cute pictures!   

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