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Kung Pao Chicken and Beef with Broccoli - A pair of Chinese classics


Kung Pao Chicken 

This is a wonderful dish, which combines the smoky flavor of dark soy sauce, the freshness of green onion and the crunch of peanuts.




It is a fusion dish, as it often shows up on Szechwan menus, but is actually a dish from the Beijing region. Always a favorite of mine from Chinese take away, I finally worked out the recipe to make it at home.

Ingredients 

1.5 lbs of boneless Chicken Breast, cut into cubes
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1 Egg White
1 Tbsp Mirin, or dry Sherry

Mix all ingredients together and marinade in refrigerator for at least one hour prior to cooking.

Prepare the sauce mixture just before beginning to cook and set it aside.

Sauce Mixture:
2 Tbsp of Mirin, or dry Sherry
1 Tbsp of Chili Garlic Paste, or 6-8 dried whole red chilies
2 tsp of Worstershire Sauce
2 Tbsp of Dark Soy Sauce
2 tsp of Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp of Light Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp of Water
1 Tbsp of Cornstarch


4 cloves of Garlic, roughly chopped
¼ - ½ cup of unsalted Chicken Stock
1 Red Pepper, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 bunch of Green Onions, chopped into 1 inch pieces
½ cup of Peanuts, unsalted
Oil for cooking

Begin by preheating the wok or pan to a high heat, then add the oil to cover the bottom of the wok. This will be approx. 3 to 4 Tbsp.

When very hot, carefully add the garlic, and quickly sauté, but do not brown. Add the chicken minute into the pan and cook until it loses its rawness. The chicken will take on a velvety texture and slightly brown. Remove it form the wok with a slotted spoon or your wok tool.

Now add the red pepper and cook until the mixture is almost done. Add the sauce mixture, half of the unsalted chicken stock and green onions and cook until the chicken is done. You can add the rest of the stock if it is too thick.

At the very end, stir in the peanuts and serve immediately with steamed Chinese rice.

Beef with Oyster Sauce and Broccoli 


This is a very simple but wonderful dish, which is both healthy and fast to prepare. It reflects the simplicity of Chinese cooking, and remember preparation time for Asian food is in the beginning, not after you start cooking.

Once you start, everything should be ready to go. As the French so perfectly say, “mis en place”, everything in its place

Ingredients 

2 Tbsp. Oil
½ lb. Flank Steak, cut thinly against the grain. Hint: If you slightly freeze the meat before cutting, it is easier to get the thin slices.
½ lb. Broccoli florets, blanched for 3 minutes in boiling salted water, then drained
3 cloves of fresh minced Garlic
1 2 in. piece of fresh Ginger Root, peeled and minced
3 Tbsp. Oyster Sauce
2 Tbsp. Dry Sherry
1 Tbsp. Dark Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Cornstarch
½ tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil 

Preheat pan, and then add oil, and bring until just starting to  smoke. Now add garlic and ginger and stir-fry very quickly and add meat, and cook for 2 minutes. 

Add all remaining ingredients except broccoli and sesame oil. Stir-fry for another one minute and then add broccoli, and cook for another minute. 

Add toasted sesame oil, remove from heat and serve with steamed Chinese rice.

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