Kung Pao Chicken
Kung Pao chicken is a famous Chinese dish made with diced chicken, chilies, and peanuts. In some Western countries, this world-famous dish is synonymous with Chinese cuisine.
It is said that the dish was created by Ding Baozhen (1820–1886), a governor of Sichuan Province during the Qing Dynasty. He came from Niuchang Town, Zhijin County, Bijie City, Guizhou Province.
Ding Baozhen was a good governor during his 10-year service in Sichuan, contributing a lot to the local people’s wellbeing. So the Qing government conferred upon him posthumously an official title: Kung Pao, which meant an officer who tutors the crown prince.
Therefore, Ding’s delicacy was named “Kung Pao chicken” to commemorate his great contributions.
If you may like to taste Kung Pao, the recipe is given to invite your sense of food.
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into chunks
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1 ounce hot chile paste
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
4 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts
To Make Marinade: Combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water mixture and mix together. Place chicken pieces in a glass dish or bowl and add marinade. Toss to coat. Cover dish and place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
To Make Sauce: In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water mixture, chili paste, vinegar and sugar. Mix together and add green onion, garlic, water chestnuts and peanuts. In a medium skillet, heat sauce slowly until aromatic.
Meanwhile, remove chicken from marinade and saute in a large skillet until meat is white and juices run clear. When sauce is aromatic, add sauteed chicken to it and let simmer together until sauce thickens.
Ma Po Tofu
Ma Po Tofu is a combination of tender tofu and spicy chili-and-bean-based sauce, sprinkled with minced meat, usually beef, and topped with some chopped scallion pieces. The snow-white bean curd, beef, and green scallion contribute to a colorful, spicy, tender, and aromatic dish.
Mapo is the way Chinese describe a woman who has pitted face. Chenshi was the mapo (‘pit-faced woman’) who created the tofu dish, hence (Chenshi) mapo tofu.
The restaurant where mapotofu appeared was originally called Chen Xingsheng Restaurant, located under a short but broad wooden bridge Wanfu Bridge. Many passing street vendors and common workers liked to have a rest in the restaurant.They would buy some tofu and beef there, scoop out some vegetable oil from their consignment, and ask Mapo (Chenshi) to cook it into one dish. As time passed by, Mapo learned some unique skills and created a special dish.
The tofu she cooked was so tasty that everyone liked it, and her tofu gradually became famous during her lifetime. Therefore people called the tofu she cooked Chen Mapo Tofu, and her small restaurant was eventually renamed Chen Mapo Tofu Restaurant.
Why don’t you try cooking of this delicacy at your home?
Ingredients: 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth 2 teaspoons potato starch (halve if using cornstarch)
2 teaspoons soy sauce 1 teaspoon sugar 1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced 2 teaspoons minced ginger
4 green onions white part only, minced
1 tablespoon fermented black beans, roughly chopped (black bean paste will also work)
1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, black seeds removed then ground (optional)
2 teaspoons doubanjiang (chili bean paste)
14 ounce block of silken tofu, drained and cut into 3/4” cubes green part of green onions minced for garnish
Directions: Add the chicken stock, cornstarch, soy sauce and sugar to a small bowl and stir to combine.
Heat a wok or large frying pan until hot. Add the sesame oil, garlic, ginger and green onions and stir-fry with a spatula until fragrant. Add the black beans and Sichuan pepper and continue stir-frying.
Add minced meat and use the spatula to break it up into small grains. Add the tofu, and toss to mix (if you stir it, the tofu will lose its shape). Give the stock mixture a good stir to incorporate anything that may have settled, and then pour it over the meat and tofu. Toss to coat, then boil until the sauce thickens. Garnished with the green parts of the green onions, then serve with hot rice.