The spicy aroma from the chili quickly diffused into the air. I felt my nose tickle. I leant down to smell the garlic, ginger, chili that was crisping up in the hot pan. The pungent chili smell clouded my senses and I had to look away to stop myself from sneezing (Never do that).
But even then it smelt wonderful. That warm, fuzzy feeling inside of me had been stirred up by the spice in the air. Next it was time to add in the chicken pieces. The screamingly hot pan sizzled intensely at the sudden commotion. I watched the magic happen as they immediately transformed from its rose-pink color to a beautiful golden-brown char.
Now came the important part. I was ready…moving swiftly to stir, mix, fold. Zoe quickly poured in the sauce. My full attention was still on the chicken. My arms was moving faster and faster to make sure the chicken wasn’t burning but had just enough time to allow the deep, thick liquid to coat each piece with another layer of sweet-saltiness, creating a shiny tinge. I immediately dished it out before the chicken could cook any further. A final sprinkle of crunchy roasted peanuts, a handful of green coriander. It was done.
I couldn’t resist a final sprinkle of freshly toasted sesame seeds. A few chilis here and there to make the dish look perfect. Besides me, Zoe quickly scooped up some steaming hot rice into a white ceramic bowl. I looked up to smile at Zoe. She smiled back knowingly. It felt like we were home again.
This Classic Kung Pao Chicken dish is delicious. I don’t even think words can express how much I enjoyed it. Yes, I know there are a million versions of this recipe, but let me just say that this rendition was absolutely fabulous. Fail-proof and healthy!
Kung Pao Chicken is a dish that you will find in restaurants more often than you would at home. Its so simple to make, I’m not really sure why that is the case? The last time I had this dish was at an infamous restaurant in Hong Kong that featured classics dishes from Beijing. This high-end, classy restaurant serves some of the best food I have ever tasted (coming from a Chinese person!). Every time I go there I get to taste something I had never had before. That time it was a Spicy Kung Pao Shrimp. And it was amazing.
I still remember the flavors of it and ever since I have been craving for Kung Pao Chicken. Honestly I was worried about making it at home due to the amount of chilis and just the ton of sauce used in the dish. There is a lot of oil used to make this and the amount of gluten in it is unbelievable. Finally, Zoe and I decided to give it a try putting our flair on it – no oil and completely gluten-free. Can you believe it? And it was absolutely to die for. This will be one of those meals that you can whip up in minutes that tastes like it is from an upscale Chinese restaurant.
This version is so easy, so fast and delicious.
FYI: I’m super conscious and hate overcooking my meat. This recipe really delivers a moist, tender chicken (so that is saying something). The balance of crunch, spiciness, saltiness, textures is phenomenal and out of this world. Ready to please a crowd? Give this a try!
Adapted from RasaMalaysia
Ingredients – serves 2
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breast/thighs (4 chicken thighs)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 slices fresh ginger, peeled (you can use ground ginger/ginger puree to substitute)
- 3 fresh chili, deseeded (optional)
- Garnish (optional):
- 1 stalk scallion
- 3 tbsp roasted peanuts
- Fresh coriander
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tsp GF Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp GF Soy Sauce
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp Cornstarch (Arrowroot or Tapioca)
- 2 tsp Honey
- 1/4 tsp Chinese Black Vinegar (Rice Vinegar/White Vinegar, but it won’t be the same)
How to Make:
- First cut up your chicken into bite sized cubes. Mix the chicken in the marinade.
- Mix the sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Heat a nonstick skillet till hot. Add your garlic and ginger and do a quick stir before adding your chilis. Fry till aromatic. Add in your chicken and cook till all sides of the chicken is no longer pink. (If the pan is sticking, feel free to add some hot water as you go).
- Add in sauce and mix well. Immediately take off the heat since the residual heat from the pan will continue cooking the chicken.
- Mix in your peanuts/cashews and scallion. Dish up and sprinkle some fresh coriander, sesame seeds and fresh chili!
Paleo, Peanut Allergies: Substitute Coconut Aminos for Soy Sauce, Cashews for Peanuts, apple cider vinegar for black vinegar.
Zoe & Mia