Nutty Kung Pao Chicken

by Millie Bentley

Greetings! Do you like Kung Pao Chicken? Well, here’s a recipe that came about from a storm that left our B&B guests stranded for a few days. It’s a long story but back in August 1998 we had the strongest wind storm that I’ve ever seen. Our guests were a little disgruntled at having to be stuck but soon they settled down to chat, drink coffee, watch movies, play games and drink more coffee.

And they ordered out a lot. The question that I was asked most at the time was, “Why doesn’t the kung pao chicken have peanuts?” My response was, “I don’t know; Bethel restaurants don’t do peanuts in kung pao.”

The arguments would’ve been long and tedious had I not escaped, ha! Anyway, here is the recipe that came out of that storm – it’s a nice and spicy chicken dish with peanuts for those of you who miss the kung pao.

P.S. The Banana Bread recipe that was published in the March 15th, 2017 edition had the flour accidentally omitted from the ingredients list. Please use 2 cups of flour for that recipe! Thank you to the lady who called in to let us know.

Spicy Peanut Chicken

½ cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons oyster-flavored sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ground

2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or white)

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 pound boneless chicken breast (skinned), cut into ¾-inch chunks

1 pound boneless chicken thighs (skinned), cut into ¾-inch chunks

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 jalapeno peppers, fresh, seeded and finely diced

2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, grated

1 red bell pepper, cut into ¾-inch pieces

1 green bell pepper, cut into ¾-inch pieces

1 cup dry roasted peanuts (or 1 cup raw peanuts, roasted)

4 green onions, including tops, finely diced

3 cups Jasmine or Basmati rice, ready to be cooked as directed

Mix together first seven ingredients, stir and set aside. Prepare remaining ingredients (except oil), and set aside ready to cook. Start steaming the rice and set the table. Heat wok or large skillet over high heat; add oil and coat pan. Add chicken, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno pepper; stir-fry about 3-4 minutes until chicken is no longer pink. Add bell peppers and stir-fry another minute or two. Add cornstarch mixture after stirring to dissolve cornstarch which has settled to bottom. Cook and stir about a minute more until sauce thickens. Stir in peanuts. Pour into serving dish; garnish with green onions and serve with hot steamed rice.

Yum! Yum! Serves 6-8.

Until next week, amigos, vaya con Dios.