A kung bao chicken I tasted years ago when we were stationed in KL has set the benchmark for this dish. I have since given up hope years ago in finding one that rivals or even come close to it. I seem to be a sucker where this dish is concerned (very much like hubby's obsession with tom yam). I can never resist ordering it if I see it on the menu and more times than ever I came away feeling disappointed and deprived.
That was until I found this recipe...
This is not the watery wash-down version we always seem to get whenever we ordered this dish in restaurants.
I found this recipe featured in one of the few Hawkers' Fair magazines I bought a while back. I have experimented with it several times and now, I nailed it down to just the way I like it and I can say it is as good as that elusive dish I craved. Of course the wok hei of chinese restaurant cooking can't be duplicate unless I get one of those pressurized kerosine stove but other than that, this is it.
Gong Bao Sauce
10 dried chillies, washed, seeded and chopped into small pieces
2 T chopped garlic
2 T chilli sauce
3 T black vinegar
2 T oyster sauce
1 T soy sauce
1 T sugar
1 t sesame oil
1/2 cup water
5 T oil
Heat oil and saute chilli and garlic until fragrant.
Add in all ingredients except water. Cook until the oil resurface.
Add in the water and cook at low heat until sauce thickens slightly (but not too thick because it will thickens further when chicken is added).
1 chicken breast, sliced or cubed
1 onion, cubed
5 slices ginger
1/2 each of red and green bell pepper, seeded and cubed (optional)
2 stalks spring onion, cut 3 cm lengthwise
2 T water
To marinade chicken:
1 egg white
1 T corn flour
1/2 t salt
a dash of pepper and sesame oil
Marinade chicken and leave for 30 minutes or so.
Deep fry in hot oil for 3-5 minutes.
Drain and keep aside.
Leave 1 T oil in wok, saute ginger and onion until fragrant.
Add in chicken meat, gong bao sauce and water.
Stir well for a minute or two and add in spring onion.
Dish onto a serving plate (can leave and discard some of the red chili oil in the wok) and sprinkle with toasted cashew nuts.
Serve with a simple stir-fried leafy veggie and steaming rice.