Gong Bao Chicken with Peanuts (Gong Bao Ji Ding)
Mrs Fuchsia Dunlop http://www.fuchsiadunlop.com/writes the following about Gong Bao chicken in her book Sichuan Cookery:
“This dish: also known as Kung Pao chicken, has the curious distinction of having been labelled as politically incorrect during the Cultural Revolution. It is named after a late Qing Dynasty (late nineteenth-century) governor of Sichuan, Ding Baozhen, who is said to have particularly enjoyed eating it – gong bao was his official title”. ‘
The book is a true masterpiece, her passion for Sichuan cuisine has inspired me greatly! Please buy it and support her cause. She also consults for Barshu in London, a Sichuanese restaurant that I hope to visit very soon.
I followed her recipe that can be found in the book but added some additional sauces and fried the chicken using a different method from what she describes. Let us get down to business people, enough talking!
The recipe calls for the following spices that are found on the plate: Sichuan skyward-pointing chili pepper, Sichuan pepper, garlic, spring onions and ginger. You also need some roasted peanuts, please do not used the ones that you snack on because they will kill the dish. Instead you should get some non-salted peanuts and roast them in the oven for 5 minutes in 175 degrees celsius.
You also need diced chicken breasts (I also included some legs). Prepare a marinade for the chicken with salt, Lee Kum Kee Premium Dark Soy Sauce, Kimlan Light Soy Sauce, corn starch and some cold water.
Mix a sauce using Lee Kum Kee Premium Dark Soy Sauce, Kimlan Light Soy Sauce, Hua Tiao Chiew Rice Wine, Chinkiang Vinegar, pure sesame oil, corn starch and some cold water. I also added some Fu Chi Chili Bean Sauce and Sichuan Zigong Baiweizhai Gongbao Sauce. These two sauces were not included in the recipe by Mrs Dunlop, however, I have seen them listed in other recipes.
I also deep-fried the chicken before actually frying it with the spices. Heat plenty of cooking oil in a pan and fry the chicken in batches, about 45 seconds or until the chicken turns a bit brown. It is not necessary for the chicken to be cooked through, you will fry them a second time so no need to worry!
Start preparing the spices. Fry the Sichuan chili and the Sichuan peppers in a hot pan for a minute or so, you want a nice fragrance from the pan. I also added some Sichuan oil at this stage, this was not part of the original recipe but I love the taste! Add the garlic, ginger and onions and fry for about 30 seconds. Finally add the chicken and fry until done, do not let it dry out however. Before serving, add the peanuts and the sauce and you are ready to go. What a great meal, enjoy bitches!