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Kung Pao Chicken

Updated February 18, 2022
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Kung Pao Chicken essay

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The dish Gong Bao Ji Ding or in English Kung Pao Chicken originates from the Sichuan Cuisine, in south-western china. This dish can be found all throughout China, although there are variations that are commonly less spicy then the Sichuan version. This dish is believed to be named after a Qing Dynasty Official named Ding Baozhen. Ding Baozhen was born in 1820 and died in 1886, he was a Chinese Official who lived in the Qing Dynasty and served as the governor of the Sichuan Province. His title was GongBao, and the name Kung Pao Chicken is derived from this title. 

The main ingredient of the original Sichuan dish is chicken, and this dish is commonly cooked using a wok. In the original version diced chicken is normally mixed with a prepared marinade. Shaoxing wine is used to strengthen the flavor in the marinade. Shaoxing wine is one of the most famous varieties of traditional Chinese wines, which are fermented from rice. 

Sichuan cuisine is a style of Chinese cooking which originates from the Sichuan Province. The Sichuan cuisine contains bold flavors such as spiciness and pungency, due to the extensive use of garlic, chilli peppers and the unique flavor of the Sichuan pepper. The Sichuan cuisine often contains food that is preserved. This food is preserved through methods such as pickling, salting and drying. Dishes that are preserved are generally served as spicy dishes. This is due to the heavy application of chilli oil. Sichuan food is the most widely served cuisine in China. This cuisine is most well known for its deep and rich flavors including the very rare Sichuan pepper. Each dish requires different cooking methods, and with that a common saying goes ‘one dish with one flavor, with one hundred dishes come hundred flavors’. The Sichuan cuisine cannot do without Sichuan pepper, black pepper, chilli, broad bean chilli paste, shallots, ginger and garlic. These ingredients are must have seasonings that bring out intense flavors that the dishes are well known for. Some fresh produce that is used widely ranges from pork to beef, fish, tofu and vegetables. Kung Pao chicken is one of the most famous dishes in Sichuan Cuisine. Hot pepper is an important flavor in Sichuan cuisine and was only introduced to China around 200-300 years ago. 
The capital of Sichuan Province is Chengdu, the capital is situated in the middle of the province. This area lies in the Sichuan basin and is surrounded by the Himalayas. Sichuan is the second largest of china’s 23 provinces. Sichuan is one of Chinas most densely populated provinces. With a huge population of over 81 million. Sichuan is a very important province to china as it contains an abundance of agricultural resources. These resources are Chinese staples such as rice and wheat. The Sichuan province has high humidity and multiple rainy/overcast days. Hot peppers help reduce internal dampness, therefore being frequently used in multiple dishes. After time hot dishes became normal in the Sichuan cuisine. The provinces humid climate was also great for multiple food preservation techniques. 

I choose the dish Kung Pao Chicken for multiple reasons that intrigued me. These things include the use of multiple spices, the history of this dish, its reputation and its vast popularity. I also wanted to cook this dish to challenge myself, as I am unfamiliar with some of the cooking styles that are commonly used in the Sichuan cuisine. Some of the most common cooking methods in the Sichuan Cuisine consist of stir-frying, deep-frying, boiling, steaming, sautéing, simmering, flavor-potting, roasting and smoking, cold mixing or dressing, marinating or pickling. 

When cooking this meal there were minimal challenges faced. One thing that was slightly difficult was the sticking of chicken on the pan. This problem was simply fixed by adding more peanut oil to the pan. The second minor challenge faced was getting certain ingredients. This was difficult as a store like Woolworths or Coles does not sell authentic Chinese food. When getting the ingredients one item that I was not able to acquire was the Sichuan peppers. As I was not able to get the peppers, I just excluded this item from the dish. 

When I was preparing this dish there were no interesting events that had occurred. 
Recipe
Ingredients
+ Marinade
– 1 T soy sauce 
– 2 t Chinese rice wine 
– 1 ½ tps cornstarch 
– 1-pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh 
+ Sauce 
– 1 T balsamic vinegar or Chinese black vinegar 
– 1 t soy sauce 
– 1 t hoisin sauce 
– 1 t sesame oil 
– 2 t sugar 
– 1 t corn starch 
– ½ t Sichuan pepper 
– 2 T peanut oil or vegetable oil 
– 8-10 dried red chilies 
– 3 scallions, thinly sliced 
– 2 garlic gloves, minced 
– 1 t minced or grated fresh ginger 
– ¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts 

Preparation 
1. Marinating the chicken 
– In a medium sized bowl, stir together the following ingredients, soy sauce, rice wine, and cornstarch until dissolved. 
– Add the chicken and stir to coat. 
– Let it stand at room temp. for 10 minutes. 

2. Prepare the sauce
– In a new bowl, combine the following ingredients, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch and Sichuan pepper. 
– Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved and set-aside. 

3. Cooking 
– Turn on stoves exhaust fan.
– Heat a wok or a large skillet over high heat.
– Add the peanut oil and coat the base.
– Add the chilies and stir-fry for around 30 seconds, or until chilies begin to blacken. 
– Add the chicken and stir-fry until its no longer pink, 2-3 minutes. 

4. Cooking Pt2 
– Add the scallion whites, garlic, and ginger and stir fry for about 30 seconds..
– Pour in the sauce and mix to coat the other ingredients. 
– Stir in the peanuts and cook for another 1-2 minutes. 
– Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle grenn scallions on top (if desired). 
– Then serve.

Kung Pao Chicken essay

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Kung Pao Chicken. (2020, Sep 17). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/kung-pao-chicken/

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