This simple Chinese language stir fry, the Gong Bao Rooster 宮保雞丁, often known as the Kung Pao Rooster, is a dish of daring and placing taste and textures, a voluptuous deal with for the culinary senses.  It’s a savory dish, touched with the umami of soy sauce, the tang of black vinegar, the pepperyness of ginger, the new of chili pepper, a touch of numbness from the szechuan pepper,  and the aromatic aroma of sesame and spring onion.  In texture the Gong Bao Rooster is tender and chewy (the rooster), crisp ( the water chestnut) and crunchy (the peanuts).  This simple to make but spectacular stir fry has a little bit little bit of every little thing good!

Notice:  This dish has chili pepper in it!  Integral a part of the dish.  As you have most likely famous ours would not.  It is because our little woman cannot tolerate spicy in any respect (engaged on coaching her!) and so in the meanwhile we prepare dinner with out it 🙁

Earlier than diving into the how of issues, I might prefer to introduce the why, the person himself, the inspiration behind this well-known dish, Ding Baozhen 丁寶楨 (1820-1886), nicknamed Ding Gongbao 丁宮保, a Chinese language official who was governor of Szechuan province throughout the late Qing dynasty.  He famously was a gastronome and particularily beloved a sure stir fried rooster dish that his cooks created for him.  That very dish, in fact, has grow to be well-known worldwide as Gong Bao Rooster 宮保雞丁!  

OMGosh, Governer Ding’s beard is sooo occurring!!!

Gong Bao Chicken, Kung pao chicken, recipe, chinese,  chicken, szechuan, sichuan, 宮保雞丁

The meat used is rooster breasts, lower into cubes and marinated within the regular Chinese language approach with a little bit of soy sauce, a splash of Shao Hsing rice wine and lastly cornstarch for thickening.  If you wish to do a stir fry with any meat, this technique of marination is the same old approach to go.

Gong Bao Chicken, Kung pao chicken, recipe, chinese,  chicken, szechuan, sichuan, 宮保雞丁
Gong Bao Chicken, Kung pao chicken, recipe, chinese,  chicken, szechuan, sichuan, 宮保雞丁

The crunch comes from two issues, the water chestnuts 馬蹄 and the peanuts.  As soon as the water chestnuts are washed, peeled and chopped they supply a particular crispy crunch and a refreshing slight sweetness to the stir fry.  The skins require a little bit of knife work to get off however generally you’ll find pre-peeled ones on the tremendous market or the moist market.  Or you may get already peeled canned water chestnuts.

The opposite crunch is the delightly nutty crunch from peanuts.  We like to make use of deep fried peanuts for this dish as deep fried peanuts have the perfect crunch and style.  We get ours from the native grocery store, they put together it contemporary, so handy!  Within the picture above the peanut skins are nonetheless on.  To take off merely rub between your fingers or a towel should you do not need to get your fingers greasy.

Gong Bao Chicken, Kung pao chicken, recipe, chinese,  chicken, szechuan, sichuan, 宮保雞丁
Gong Bao Chicken, Kung pao chicken, recipe, chinese,  chicken, szechuan, sichuan, 宮保雞丁

The aromatics for this dish are spring onion, garlic, ginger and chilies.  The garlic is used for its mellow pungency and is just minced.  For the contemporary ginger, it is necessary that it’s sliced to very, very skinny matchsticks.  It should be sliced this fashion as a result of it’s meant to be eaten on this dish, not eliminated.  So to make the expertise nice each in texture (skinny easy wisps against thick exhausting and presumably furry sticks) and style (a contact of pepperness vs approach an excessive amount of), skinny, skinny, skinny slices is finest.   If you want to additional dial again the pepperness of the ginger a soak in chilly water earlier than utilizing will do the trick.

Subsequent is the common-or-garden spring onion fragrant which is an below appreciated fragrant in my view.  Not a meal goes by if we’re cooking Chinese language that we don’t want spring onion.  Which, for some unusual purpose, shouldn’t be that simple to purchase in HK, alot of supermarkets do not carry it or run out of it!!  Arggh!  Anyhow, for a stir fry, slice the spring onion into inch lengths and use it as an fragrant, i.e. toss into the new oil to infuse the oil earlier than including essential components, but additionally deal with it like one other veggie as in it is somewhat scrumptious to eat.  These massive bits of cooked spring onion are an absolute delight to eat, fragrantly scrumptious and infused with the flavors of the dish, the greens a bit squeaky to chew into, the whites softened and bursting.  Typically it is the favourite little bit of the dish for me…

Gong Bao Chicken, Kung pao chicken, recipe, chinese,  chicken, szechuan, sichuan, 宮保雞丁
The final aromatics are the peppers.  Not one pepper for this dish however two.  The primary is dried small chili pepper, no matter small chili pepper you want.  If we had added chilies we might have used dried Thai purple chillies since we all the time a bunch of those dangle dried in the home.  (Really easy, simply dangle em and allow them to dry and so they preserve like that without end!)  Dried chili pepper is totally different from contemporary, it is hotter!
Gong Bao Chicken, Kung pao chicken, recipe, chinese,  chicken, szechuan, sichuan, 宮保雞丁
The second chili shouldn’t be actually a chili pepper in any respect however somewhat a spice:  the szechuan pepper, often known as Chinese language prickly ash 花椒.  This excellent spice infuses a floral, citrusy, spicy taste into the dish in addition to a tingling numbing impact within the mouth.  It is a actually particular, unforgettable, distinctive taste.  With this distinctive spice this dish’s taste is taken to the subsequent stage!

The ultimate taste notes are discovered within the sauce.  A little bit of sugar to bridge and stability, umami from the darkish and lightweight soy sauces, the daring pungent tang of black Chinese language vinegar and the nutty perfume of sesame oil.  The end result?  A surprising little dish of daring vibrant flavors and textures…so yummilicious!!  Many due to Ding Baozhen 丁宮保 and his stalwart love of stir fried rooster!

Gong Bao Chicken, Kung pao chicken, recipe, chinese,  chicken, szechuan, sichuan, 宮保雞丁

Gong Bao Rooster Recipe  宮保雞丁

Prep time: 10 minutes   Cook dinner time: 5 minutes


2 tsp mild soy sauce

1/2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine

1 tsp cornstarch

2 rooster breasts, skinless

5 water chestnuts 馬蹄 

3 cloves garlic

1 1/2 inch contemporary ginger

2 sprigs spring onion

3-5 dried small chiles

1 tsp szechuan peppers 花椒

1/2 cup deep fried peanuts (or roasted peanuts)


3 tsp sugar

1 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp darkish soy sauce

1 tsp mild soy sauce

3 tsp Chinkiang black Chinese language vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp water

Reduce the rooster breasts into 1/2 inch cubes.  Combine with mild soy sauce, rice wine, cornstarch and let marinate for 10-15 minutes.

Peel and mince garlic.  Peel and slice ginger into very very skinny matchsticks, about 1 1/2 tbsp value.  Wash and slice spring onion into 1 inch lengths.  

Wash water chestnuts and slice off the pores and skin.  Reduce into 1/2 inch dice chunks (approx).

Put together the dried chilies.  In the event you desire very spicy sizzling use scissors to chop into 1/2 inch sections.  In the event you desire much less spicy scoop out seeds and discard.  Cautious to not rub your eyes earlier than washing fingers totally.  One other approach to obtain much less spicy is to make use of the dried chilies entire, solely slicing off the inexperienced stem.  

Combine all sauce components collectively.  Warmth up wok till sizzling.  Add in 2 tbsp oil.  Add dried chilies and szechuan pepper and stir for 10-15 secs till aroma is launched.  Add in rooster, stir and flip rooster over a few times.  Add in garlic, ginger and spring onions.  Stir, then add in water chestnuts.  Stir fry one other jiffy till rooster is completed.  Fire up the sauce (the cornstarch settles on backside after some time) and add to the wok.  Preserve stir frying till the sauce thickens and clings to the rooster.  Add within the peanuts, give it a closing toss and scoop onto serving plate.  Benefit from the deliciousness!

Extra Chickeny Rooster at The Hong Kong Cookery:




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