Gong Bao Chicken (宮保雞丁) Recipe
I was wrong about this one. When I was making it, I thought, nah this recipe wont be a keeper. It’s just too simple, with only a little soy, chili and Sichuan peppercorns as seasonings, I couldn’t imagine anything more than “it’s alright, not bad, but not great.” But I underestimated the ability of scallions, ginger, garlic to make a dish super fragrant, and how marinating meat for just 10 minutes could produce a magical difference. I also didn’t think that little amount of chili would satisfy my love of spice.
I am so glad I gave this recipe a try! It had such a good kick (coming from someone with a good tolerance), which intensified the overall flavors of the dish. It was definitely simple enough to make on a weekday yet it feels like such a treat because I never thought I could get these flavors outside of a restaurant.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with Chinese dried chili and Szechuan peppercorns, you can find them in Asian supermarkets. If you like authentic Chinese flavors and spice, they are must-haves in the pantry. Be careful though, because a little really goes a long way. These kind of spices produce a numbing-to-the-mouth kind of spicy sensation so you can decide if that’s your thing. Also, if you accidentally bite into a Szechuan peppercorn, you’re gonna notice a soapy taste in your mouth. It’s interesting but I don’t think anyone really enjoys tasting soap so try to pick them out when you eat.
Adapted from Serious Eats
Mouth-numbing spiciness that keeps you eating bite after bite.
- 1 lb Skinless Boneless Chicken Thighs
- 1 tbsp Cornstarch
- 4 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1/3 cup (38g) Unsalted Peanuts
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 2 tsp Szechuan Peppercorns
- 4 Dried Red Chiles, roughly chopped or crushed
- 2 cloves Garlic, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 1-inch piece of Ginger Root, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 4 Scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped
- Combine the chicken, cornstarch, and 2 tbsp soy sauce in a small bowl. Mix well and marinate for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add peanuts and toast for several minutes, until golden and fragrant. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Add peppercorns and dried chilies and cook, stirring ocassionally, until fragrant and the chiles turn brown.
- Turn heat up to high and add chicken. Cook until chicken is cooked on both sides.
- Add garlic, ginger, scallions and peanuts and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and pour remaining soy sauce over the chicken.
This recipe is gluten-free if you use gluten-free soy sauce.