The first time I made kungpao chicken was a a year or so ago.. its already my fifth or sixth time. I think I randomly referred to a series of foodblogs for this..some were stated at my reference corner. I didn't exactly follow any one of the instructions, but I juz read through and juz go for whatever available in my humble kitchen huhu. Now, it has become one of the all-time favourite of my hubby..The thick savoury taste balanced the slightly spicy taste..and when you munch on a cashew nut, its a bonus! haha..for us, we even ate the fried dry chilies for a higher level of spicy kick! to us, its quite bland if its not for the chillies..but beware to the brave ones, the spiciness comes a bit later in your stomach, and too much of em, it'll hurt..drink some milk to appease the pain lol (or some gaviscon :P)
Do you know why I wanted to try to make this for the first time? Its an absurd reason. Its SimSocial's fault. One of the dish learnt in cooking skill section when you already have a stove is 'kungpao chicken'. So I took an interest because of that haha. Its the same with some of the other dishes like the 'tuscan soup', 'egg benedict', 'devil's egg', as well as a variety of other food *laughing*. That came from another cooking game I tried before. Who said playing games are a waste of time?
For marination sauce
3 tbs dark thick soy sauce or molasses (the kind that didn't taste much but very dark in colour)
2 tbs honey
2 tbs light soy sauce
1 tbs vinegar (use whatever, i used apple cider vinegar with the mother, for health reasons haha..if dun have, you can opt for 2 squeezed lime juice)
2 pinch of salt
dash of pepper
2 tbs corn starch
~ mix all this together into a thick solution (hmm..did i miss anything?..dun think so..)
3 tbs vege oil
2 tbs julienned ginger
3 cloves of garlic - julienned
5-8 dried chillies (do not immerse in water or cut if you dont want the seeds to come out)
1/4 c whole cashew nuts
2 sprigs of green onion (cut to 1 inch in length)
oh..most importantly, 1 piece of cubed chicken breast (don't cut to small, not so nice woh)
1. Taste your marination. Is the taste balanced between sweet, sour and salty? If not, adjust accordingly. It will taste strong although balanced, but don't worry, it won't do you any harm. If too light, add a wee bit of light soy sauce.
2. Marinate the cubed chickens with the sauce + corn starch in it. Leave it in the fridge for 3-4 h. If I want to cook it for lunch, I prep the marination after breakfast, if for dinner, after lunch I prep the marination after lunch.
3. Pour in the oil in a wok (a bit only k), and fry the cashew nuts at low fire, remove and set aside.
4. Using the same oil, fry the dried chillies at medium fire until you can smell the spiciness, beware, if the oil too hot, it can expand the air within the chillies and it can burst. Like a shotgun. And, ur pitiful face will burn (talking from experience =___=|||). This should take less than 3-4 mins. The indication is, the wrinkled chillies became 'full'. You'll understand what I mean.
5. Add the ginger with the garlic, stir until aromatic.
6. Add in the marinated chicken WITH the marination alltogather. Stir well until the chicken became somewhat opaque (hard to see tho, since its all black and stuff..you get the jiff haha)
7. Check the taste, if bland, please adjust accordingly with salt, vinegar, and honey. Maintain the consistency at all time. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT add water.