After last weekend’s efforts in the kitchen, I haven’t had much energy this week to do much more. The little miss has taken up quite a bit of time, and the frequent nighttime waking has scrambled my brain. But I was inspired by Lunar New Year and Appetite for China’s post about an opportunity to receive a copy of her new cookbook, The Chinese Takeout Cookbook for trying a recipe. I can’t seem to get enough Asian cookbooks – half of my cookbook collection are Asian cookbooks, so of course I can’t resist! (And in full disclosure, I will be entered in a giveaway for posting as well).

DH and I love homemade Kung Pao Chicken, and Diana’s recipe seemed manageable to try with only one set of arms (the other holding the babe).

So DH got to work. First, he tenderized the chicken. While this wasn’t called for in Diane’s recipe, it is something we often do with our stir-fries as it makes the meat really soft after cooking (also, it makes it more forgiving if you have a tendency to overlook the meat). To tenderize, DH soaks the cut meat in 1tsp of baking soda and 1-2 tsp of rice wine vinegar. After about 10 minutes, he rinses the meat and then we get started on our recipe!

Chicken marinating in a bag does not a good photo make!

Once the sauce was made, scallions chopped, meat was tenderized and marinated in Diana’s marinade, we were ready to stir-fry. One great thing that stir-frying has always taught me is that to stir-fry right, you have to have everything ready to throw in the wok before you start to cook.

So into the wok (yes, our electric wok since we know of no good wok pan that can be used with a glass top cooktop), went our oil and chiles (this is also where we added the Sichaun peppercorns, as I like mine whole and roasted in the hot oil). Then in went our chicken.

After the chicken was cooked, we added the onions, peanuts, and sauce to finish off the dish.

Compared to other Kung Pao recipes we’ve tried, DH and I appreciated the simplicity in this version, and found it to be quite tasty (although, I’m afraid my Sichaun peppercorns have seen better days and that it’s time to head down to the Spice Shack and pick up some new ones). The balance of heat from the chiles with the sweetness of the sauce was pretty much spot on. The ingredients called for in this recipe are pretty straight-forward, with only a few items that are not likely to be included in the typical grocery store (but very easy to find at a global market).

Given how easy this was to whip up, I imagine we’ll be making this again as DB is amazing at taking up our time.

Enough effort for the weekend, I think!