This post is a little late. I have not felt like blogging for the past few days. No real reason. I certainly have been cooking a lot though.
But now I am back to blogging. This past Tuesday I made the Wok Wednesday selection of Kung Pao Chicken. Some of the ingredients were a mystery to me, so I took a trip to one of the many Asian markets around here. I like the markets because of all the weird stuff inside, but I am not a big fan of the smell. I don’t know if it is a fish smell or what, but it is not so pleasant.
At the market, I bought the dried chili peppers, dark soy sauce, and Sichuan peppercorns (which were identified as Dried Prickly Ash). And no, I did not find these things on my own; the store manager helped me. There is no way I would have known that Dried Prickly Ash is the same as Sichuan Peppercorns. No way.
Anyway, at home I roasted the peppercorns in the wok until they developed a nice aroma. I did not take off the little stems, because frankly it was too much of a pain in the neck to do that. When the peppercorns cooled, I used my lovely mortar and pestle to grind them. I love the mortar and pestle. I feel like a colonialist using it.
This recipe calls for ¾ cup of roasted unsalted peanuts. I just happened to have attended a farm fair a few days before where I bought a nice bag of roasted unsalted peanuts. So, I shelled the little guys for this dish.
The farm fair was a lot of fun for me and the kids. Here are pictures of the always popular pony rides. This is the first time they went on the ponies without me. Yeah!
All the other ingredients were prepped and ready to go into the wok at the scheduled time. I used chicken thighs for the meat. I only used 3 chili peppers because I was afraid of the heat level.
Since mixing dry sherry and soy sauce in equal parts for a prior recipe, I have been using this for a lot of different meals. It is a great combination and really flavors food well, as it did for this recipe.
The end result was a very tasty dish. I loved all the sauces for this dish. I never had Kung Pao Chicken, so I did not have anything to compare it to.
If I were to make this again, I would use lightly salted roasted peanuts. And I would add another chili pepper, because there was no heat at all in my dish. But, as I said before, it was tasty as is.