Thursday, November 6, 2008

“Kung Po” Chicken – Chicken with Cashew Nuts version 2

This is a slightly different version of Chicken with cashews nuts from the one I posted earlier.

In fact the tastes between the two recipes are very different and due in main to something called Chinese Black Vinegar or Chinkiang vinegar. I am lucky enough to have a bottle of this at home which I bought from a Chinese supermarket quite a long time ago. If you don’t have it, or can’t find it, substitute it with balsamic vinegar.

This version is certainly the more ‘authentic’ of the two.

You will need:

400g chicken breast, diced into bite sized pieces
100g raw cashew nuts
1 red pepper (or green, or both), deseeded and cut into 1cm squares
1 onion, quartered, chopped into big pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 knob of fresh ginger, chopped fine
5 or more Kashmiri chillis, or other dried ones (about 10g)
2tbsp dry sherry
3 spring onions, chopped into 2cm long segments

For the seasoning:

1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp dark soy sauce

For the Sauce

2 tsp cornstarch
4 tbsp good chicken stock
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp Chinese Black Vinegar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce

And then you need to:

The presentation of the food is quite important in these sorts of dishes so when you chop the chicken try and cut the breasts into equal sized smallish (1 cm) cubes.

The dried chillis do not impart much heat, they give a slightly smoky flavour to the dish and they do of course add quite a bit to the presentation. If you want a bit more heat blast add a finely chopped Thai chilli as well at the same time as you throw in the onions and garlic.

Place the chopped chicken in glass bowl with the seasoning ingredients. Give it a good mix to make sure everything is coated and leave to marinade for about 15 minutes.

Add all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and mix.

Either in a dry wok or in a hot (200C/400F) oven roast the cashew nuts. In the oven this will take about 5 minutes only. Once the nuts have browned nicely put to one side.

Heat the wok over medium high heat, add about 1 tbsp of ground nut oil and when it is very hot throw in the dried chillis. Give them a quick flick, and then add the onions, the garlic and the ginger. Fry very quickly for no more than 30 seconds and then add the chicken. With the cornstarch in the marinade it will likely stick a bit to the bottom, don’t worry, keep stirring and flicking and scraping the yummy bits off.

After about 30 seconds add the dry sherry.

Keep stir frying until all the sherry has evaporated, which will only take a minute.

Add the red pepper and the sauce ingredients. Keep giving it a really good stir, for about another minute.

Once the sauce is lovely and thick, add the spring onions and the cashews give them a couple of good flicks around the wok, and then tip the whole lot onto a large warmed serving platter.

Serve straightaway.

From the time you’ve heated the wok to the time you tip out the food it should take you less than five minutes. The Chinese are the true masters of fast food.


Cordia Amant said...

Alex, these recipes look great. But I'll need a translation. I know Americans are behind the times, but I have no idea about grams or centimeters. Sigh. I'll probably just have to google it, then.

halfmanhalfbeer said...

Cordia Amant - sorry we've gone all metric over here, but there are lots and lots of on-line converters for you to get those measurements in cups, quarts and oz's!

Have a look at epicurious.com, they have all sorts of reference tools, including converters.

Thanks for stopping by.