To whet your appetite for our upcoming Mekong Kosher Cruise, we are presenting one of the many dishes that we’ll serve aboard it. We’ve blended traditional Vietnamese and Cambodian cuisine with many of the favorites we serve on our European cruises. One of these is Kung Pao chicken.
The “history” of Kung Pao Chicken is very interesting. Legend has it that the dish was created by Ding Baozhen, a governor of the Sichuan province during the Qing Dynasty. Ding Baozhen was very interested in cooking. He liked eating chicken and peanuts, and loved savoring spicy flavors. He created a delicacy made of diced chicken, red pepper, and peanuts while in the kitchen. Kung Pao Chicken was originally a private home cuisine of the Ding family, but as time passed it became a well-known dish.
This reminds me of a little known story. A Jewish chef was invited to create a dish to celebrate the birth of twins to the Emperor of China, a girl, Shen and a boy, Locka. He created a chicken soup with vermicelli. So that is how we, the Jews, inherited “LockaShen Soup”🤣
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
- 1 ounce chilies (hotness depends on your taste)
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 4 medium (4-1/8″ long)s green onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- (8 ounce) can water chestnuts
- 4 ounces halved peanuts
To Make Marinade: Combine 1 tablespoon wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water mixture and mix together. Place chicken pieces in a glass dish or bowl and add marinade. Toss to coat. Cover the dish and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
To Make Sauce: In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon cornstarch/water mixture, chilies, vinegar and sugar. Mix together and add green onion, garlic, water chestnuts and peanuts. In a medium skillet, heat sauce slowly until aromatic.
Meanwhile, remove chicken from marinade and saute it in a large skillet until meat is white and juices run clear. When the sauce is aromatic, add sauteed chicken to it and let simmer together until sauce thickens.