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This favorite has traveled many years, far distances, and arrived at our palettes in many variations. Gōngbào Jīdīng (宫保鸡丁, Kung Pao Chicken or Spicy Diced Chicken) is named after a Gōngbào (palatial guardian) from the Qing Dynasty named Ding Baozhen who invented the dish in Sichuan. Using the numbing huājiāo (花椒, Sichuan peppercorn), sliced scallions, peanuts, dried Sichuan chili peppers, and a chicken, Ding managed to impress his house guests despite his limited resources after having been ousted as an official from Shandong province. Gōngbào Jīdīng fits within húlà wèixíng (糊辣味型), a style that is spicy, numbing, sweet, and sour.
- 500 grams (1 pound) chicken breast (鸡肉, jīròu), diced
- 1 teaspoon salt (盐, yán)
- 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine / Shaoxing wine (料酒, Liàojiǔ)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch (淀粉, diànfěn)
- 2 teaspoonsfermented chili bean paste (豆瓣酱, dòubàn jiàng)
- 1 stalk medium green onion (大葱, dà cōng), chopped, the quantity depend on people’s taste.
- ½ cup fried peanuts (炸过的花生, zhà guò de huāshēng), skinless — Add more, if you like peanuts
- 2 sweet red peppers (红椒, hóng jiāo), diced same size as the chicken
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- ½ teaspoon sugar (糖, táng)
- 3 cloves garlic (蒜, suàn), thinly sliced.
- 1 teaspoon chicken essence (鸡精, jījīng) or salt
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (酱油, jiàngyóu)
For the chǎo guō (炒锅, wok)
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil (油, yóu), rapeseed oil or sunflower oil are great as they are light in flavor. Sichuan region uses mostly rapeseed oil.
- 2 dried chili peppers
- ½ tablespoon whole Sichuan peppercorns (花椒, huājiāo)
- Mix all of bowl 1′s ingredients, coating the chicken pieces well. Combine green onion, peanuts, and red peppers into bowl 2.
- Dissolve corn starch with cold water and pour into bowl 2. Add to bowl 2 sugar, garlic, chicken essence or salt, and soy sauce.
- Heat oil in a wok. Fry dried chili peppers and Sichuan peppercorns until fragrant.
- Add bowl 1 and stir-fry, keeping the chicken pieces separated. After 1 minute add the ingredients from bowl 2 and stir-fry for one minute, until cooked but don’t over cook the chicken. Remove from heat and serve!