I went to dinner at PF Chang's with a group of girlfriends last weekend. Two friends ordered Kung Pao dishes. I tried a bite of both dishes and now I am in love with the chili, garlic flavor of Kung Pao! Not only do I have a new favorite dish to eat THERE, I have a new favorite recipe to fix at home. Give it a try:
1/2 c soy sauce
4 T water
1/2 t hot chili sesame oil (or regular sesame oil)
1 t balsamic vinegar
2 t brown sugar
1 t cornstarch
1 1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, rinsed and drained
(or chicken breast cut into small chunks, seasoned with salt & pepper)
1/2 c cornstarch
6 T coconut oil
2-3 t ground fresh chili paste (found at asian market) or Sriracha
1/3 c onion, large diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
handful of dry roasted peanuts
2-3 green onions, chopped
Steamed rice for serving
Combine first six ingredients in a small bowl, whisk and set aside. This is the slurry that will make the sauce.
Combine coconut oil (warm it up to liquify if needed) and chili paste in a small bowl and set aside.
Place shrimp (or chicken) in a large ziplock bag with 1/2 c cornstarch, toss to coat and shake off excess in a mesh strainer. You want a light coating of cornstarch on the shrimp (or chicken) to give it a little bit of crunch after frying.
Warm 2 T of coconut chili oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Toss in half of the shrimp and fry lightly until pink.. just a couple of minutes. Spoon out onto a plate and keep warm while you fry the other half in another 2 T of chili oil. If you're using chicken just make sure it's cooked through but not overcooked (that makes sense, right?), also in two batches. You don't want to crowd the skillet :)
After all meat is fried and set aside, add the last 2 T of chili oil to the skillet (you don't need to rinse the skillet). Sauté the onions and garlic for a few minutes, until soft. Pour in the slurry. Cooking about 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until it's thickened and glossy.
When you're ready to serve, toss in shrimp (or chicken), peanuts and green onions and stir to coat. Serve immediately atop steamed rice. Serves 4. Enjoy!