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June 22, 2006

Pow! Kung pao chicken, that is...

[kung pao chicken bento]

Top: wok-fried broccoli, kung pao chicken with red bell peppers
Bottom: hoisin-chicken bun (not GF), rice with furikake (yasai fumi furikake to be exact)

Woo hoo! I made my own kung pao chicken! And it packed a heckuva flavor punch, lemme tell ya. :o) The kung pao actually are leftovers from dinner this past week, and I didn't leave myself any fresh scallions to throw over the top. And I almost burned the chicken buns. Ah well. This was one of the fastest bento lunches on record, which was good since I had to make a marinade for the herb grilled steak we'll be enjoying over a crisp salad this evening. ;o) The recipe below was modified from one I found on Cooking Light -- don't be discouraged by the humongous list of ingredients. The dish is quite easy to make. I recommend measuring everything out beforehand, as the dish comes together quickly once you start cooking.

Marinade -
2 tbsp reduced sodium tamari
2 tbsp sake
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

- Sauce -

1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp sugar
2-1/2 tbsp reduced-sodium tamari
2 tbsp sake
1 tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos (or Worcestershire sauce if you're not gluten-sensitive)
1-1/4 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 tbsp ginger, peeled and chopped finely
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp prepared chile paste with garlic
- And -
2 tbsp cooking oil (I use a blend of canola and olive oil)
1 small can water chestnut pieces (~ 3/4 cup)
1 red bell pepper, quartered and sliced*
9 scallions, green tops plus 1-inch of white part, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
1/3 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add chicken, toss well to coat, then cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. While chicken is marinating, prepare the sauce by combining the broth, sugar, tamari, sake, liquid aminos, cornstarch, and sesame oil. Stir well with a whisk or fork until the sugar and cornstarch have dissolved.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok (or large nonstick skillet) over medium-high heat. Add the chicken mixture and stir-fry until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan.
  4. Heat remaining tbsp of oil in the same pan. Add the sliced green onions, ginger, garlic, and chile paste, and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add the broth mixture and cook for another minute or until thick, stirring constantly.
  5. Throw in the cooked chicken, red bell pepper, water chestnuts, scallions, and peanuts. Cook until thoroughly heated, about 1-3 minutes. Voila!
* Feel free to add other vegetables in place of, or in addition to, red bell pepper. This recipe would work well with bamboo shoots, baby corn, carrots, snow peas, broccoli...

[Recipe adapted from
Cooking Light.]
* Use gluten-free ingredients.
© 2006 Cooking Cute