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Kung Pao Chicken

1 1/4 lbs chicken thighs (about 5)
1 small egg
1 1/2 T plus 1 t cornstarch
4 T soy sauce
4 T peanut oil
19 oz can bamboo shoots
8 green onions, white part only rinsed and drained
3 to 5 dried red chili peppers, seeded
1 1/2 T cold water
2 T rice wine
1 1/2 T Chinese black vinegar
1 T plus 1 t sugar
2 t sesame oil
1 t minced pared fresh ginger root
2 t hoisin sauce (optional)
1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1 sm clove garlic, minced

Bone chicken thighs; remove and discard skin. Cut chicken into
3/4-inch pieces. Beat egg in medium bowl; add chicken. Sprinkle
chicken with 1 1/2 T cornstarch; mix well. Stir in 1 T each soy
sauce and peanut oil. Marinate at room temperature thirty minutes.

Cut bamboo shoots into 3/4-inch cubes. Cut green onions into
3/4-inch pieces. Cut peppers into 1/2-inch pieces.

Mix 2 t of cornstarch and the water in small bowl until smooth.
Stir in 3 T soy sauce, the rice wine, vinegar, sugar, hoisin sauce,
and sesame oil.

Heat wok over high heat fifteen seconds. Add 3 T peanut oil and
heat until hot, about thirty seconds. Reduce heat to low. Add
peppers; cook, stirring and pressing peppers against wok, until
dark red, about ten seconds. Add ginger and garlic; stir-fry ten

Increase heat to high. Scatter in chicken, about one quarter at a
time. Stir-fry one minute after all chicken has been added. Add
bamboo shoots; stir-fry one minute. Add green onions; stir-fry
thirty seconds.

Stir cornstarch mixture; add to wok. Cook and stir until sauce
thickens and coats chicken evenly, about thirty seconds. Add peanuts
and turn off heat; stir mixture two or three times. Serve immediately.

You may substitute American ingredients for many of the Chinese
ones, such as sherry instead of rice wine, etc. However, the results
won't quite be the same. Try going to an Asian market.

Red peppers are quite potent. I have seen one version of Kung Pao
chicken that called for ten dried peppers, but I'm not that brave.
Do not touch your eyes or other sensitive areas after handling
until you have a chance to wash your hands thoroughly. Also, make
sure the peppers are not wet when you add them to oil, or they will
put out fumes that are overpowering if not absolutely toxic.

I added hoisin sauce to the original recipe for a little extra
flavor, based on the fact that I saw it listed as an ingredient in
another version of the dish. I haven't yet decided if it improves
things. Kung Pao chicken is pretty flavorful as is.


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