As a boy in Guizhou the early nineteenth century, the story goes, Ding Baozhen accidentally fell into the water. He couldn’t swim, but he was saved by a man who happened to be passing by. Ding grew up and became a government official, eventually attaining the rank of Gōngbǎo at a post in Sichuan Province. Reflecting on the man had once who saved his life as a boy, he decided to pay the family a visit to express his gratitude.
While visiting their home, Ding Baozhen was served a dish featuring diced chicken, peanuts, and spicy Sichuan peppercorns. He liked the flavor, and legend has it that he asked the family chef for the recipe and began eating it on a regular basis and serving it to his own guests. The dish quickly spread around Sichuan Province, where it came to be called gōngbǎo jīdīng in honor of the dish’s most ardent fan, Ding Baozhen.
Kung Pao Chicken
2 Skinless, boneless Chicken Breast fillets
3 ¼ T Soy Sauce
1 ¼ T Oyster Sauce
1 T peanut Oil
1 T Water
3 ¼ t Mirin
2 t ¼ Rice wine vinegar
1/8 t Red chili flakes
1 c roasted peanuts
¼ c peanut Oil
2 T Corn Starch
1 – 2 Chili pepper, your choice, jalapeño, Thai, whatever
1 green onion
1 ½ t chopped garlic
1/8 t Red chili flakes
Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. In a bowl mix mirin, water, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, oil, and chili flakes. Mix well. Add chicken to the bowl, toss to coat and refrigerate for one hour.
Remove the seeds and membrane from a chili pepper and slice it into thin strips. Chop green onions.
Retrieve marinating chicken from the fridge and strain it, place chicken in a bowl, and save the marinade and set aside.
Add cornstarch to chicken and stir thoroughly.
Get a pan over medium heat and pouring in some oil. Let the oil heat up for a few minutes before adding the chicken.
Add chicken to the hot oil. Stir and cook until the chicken is almost done. Remove chicken from pan to a plate and set aside.
Pour off the oil that’s still in the pan and return the pan to the stove.
Pour in reserved marinade. Add peanuts, chilies, chili flakes, and garlic. Give the pan a little swish. As soon as the sauce starts to bubble add the chicken back and cook and stir until the chicken is done.
Once the chicken is done add the green onions, turn off the heat and give the Kung Pao Chicken a couple more stirs before removing to a plate. Serve right away. Enjoy.