Kung Pao Chicken
Dreaming of Kung Pao
Kung Pao Chicken ranks as one of my all time favorite Asian dishes. I was first induced into trying Kung Pao because the menu description had a little chile symbol next to it. This chile symbol denoted that this was a very spicy dish. I am from New Mexico and here we take our spicy seriously. I went ahead and ordered it. Heat is what I live for and this dish delivered it with a Pow!
What I liked best about Kung Pao is it had all these deliciously wonderful Asian flavors and textures going on that made my tastebuds dance with excitement. For me Kung Pao is the perfect balance of flavors and textures. It is a dish loaded with heat, sweet, sour, savory, as well as heaping helping of crunch. Because of this it became something I ordered over and over again and something I really missed.
Recreating the Dream
One of the main components in many Asian dishes is cornstarch. Cornstarch, like gluten, is what thickens those flavor packed Asian sauces. I have tried using many different thickeners and been disappointed again and again. Nothing ever came close to mimicking the thickening power or texture of cornstarch or gluten.
It wasn’t until I’d read about and tried a much touted thickener called glucomannan that my love of Asian cuisine was to become a reality once again. Glucomannan is a thickener made from konjac root. Like psyllium husk powder it is high in fiber. Unlike psyllium though, it does not effect the texture. The biggest plus though is that it does not alter the taste of the dish at all. This for me makes it an ideal low carb alternative to use in place of cornstarch or gluten to achieve a remarkable and truly authentic tasting dish.
This and my Thai peanut sauce/dressing make for some delicious Asian options to add to your low carb repertoire. They do require a few speciality ingredients and a little bit of grunt work. Once you work through this and establish your groove though, you will open the door to some game changing possibilities. In my book there is nothing better than farm to table fresh cooking that is just as good as something you only ever got when you ate out. From my kitchen to yours, happy low carbing. Mike
Kung Pao Chicken
This Kung Pao Chicken is the perfect balance of flavors and textures. It is a dish that is all at once loaded with heat, sweet, sour, savory, as well as heaping helping of crunch. You can expect it to be just as good as what you used to get when you went out.
30 Minutes to marinate chicken.
Combine chicken, 2 teaspoons of the Tamari and 2 teaspoons dry sherry in medium bowl and mix thoroughly. Allow chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and up to two hours.
Combine scallion whites, garlic, and ginger in small bowl. In another small bowl combine remaining Tamari, sesame oil, remaining dry sherry, the glucomannan powder, vinegar, chili-garlic sauce, chicken stock and sugar in small bowl and mix until the glucomannan is dissolved. It will thicken slightly, but will thicken substantially when you add it to the cooked chicken and vegetables and it heats up.
In a heavy duty frying pan (cast Iron is ideal) add 1 Tbls of the peanut oil and turn the heat to high to get the skillet very hot. Add the dried chiles and cook until the chiles start turning dark red and become very fragrant. Remove your skillet from the heat. Pick out chiles and reserve them. At this point I cut them with kitchen shears into thirds so chiles are no longer whole.
Return the skillet to high heat until it is just beginning to smoke. Add all the marinated chicken. Spread in even layer with a metal spatula and allow the chicken to begin caramelizing before beginning to stir and toss until it is no longer translucent. Remove from the heat and transfer the chicken to a medium bowl.
Return the skillet to the heat and add the other Tbls of oil. Add the bell pepper and celery and quickly stir for about a minute. You want crisp tender. Add the scallions, garlic and ginger and quickly stir until the garlic starts to take on color. Add back in the chicken and the reserved sauce. In about a minute or so the heat will activate the glucomannan and the sauce will be begin to bubble and get thick. Quickly remove from the heat and transfer to a platter and serve immediately with chopped peanuts and scallion greens on the side. You can serve this alone or with riced cauliflower in place of the white Jasmine rice this is traditionally served with.
Nutrition Facts - Calculated using My Fitness Pal
Fat 19g, Cholesterol 106mg, Sodium 821mg, Potassium 190mg, Total Carbs 8g, Fiber 3g, Sugars 3g,
Protein 39g, Net Grams 5g