Kung Po Chicken is a classic dish from Sichuan named after the late Sichuan governor, Ding Baochen. ‘Gong Bao’ or ‘Kung Po’ means palatial guardian, which is in reference to his official title. I can understand why Ding Baochen would have loved this spicy-sweet dish, as it holds the most amazing spicy, sweet and tangy flavor combination. This is my Western version, ideal for midweek as it’s quick to prepare. Enjoy! Serves: 2-4 Ingredients: 2 skinless chicken breasts or 4 thighs cut into 1cm (0.5 inch) slices Salt and ground white pepper 1 tbsp of potato flour or cornflour 1 tbsp groundnut oil 2 tbsps of Sichuan peppercorns 4 dried red chillies 1 tbsp Shaohsing Rice Wine or dry sherry 1 red pepper deseeded and cut into chunks 2 spring onions chopped into 2.5cm (1 inch) lengths Handful of dry roasted cashew nuts For the sauce: 100ml (3.5 fl oz) cold vegetable stock 1 tbsp of Lee Kum Kee Premium Light Soy Sauce 1 tbsp tomato ketchup 1 tbsp Chinkiang black rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp of Lee Kum Kee Hoisin Sauce 1 tsp chilli sauce 1 tbsp cornflour Method: Place the chicken in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the potato flour or corn flour and mix well to coat the chicken pieces. Add all the ingredients for the sauce to another bowl and stir to combine. Heat a wok over a high heat until it starts to smoke and add the groundnut oil. Add the Sichuan peppercorns and dried chillies and fry for a few seconds, then add the chicken pieces and stir fry for two minutes. As the chicken begins to turn opaque add the rice wine of dry sherry. Cook for a further two minutes, then pour in the sauce. Bring to the boil. Add the red pepper and cook in the sauce with the chicken for another two minutes or until the meat is cooked through and the sauce has thickened and become slightly sticky in consistency. Add the spring onions and cook for one minute. Toss in the cashew nuts then transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.
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