A friend and I made a weekly ritual of it; until one day we couldn't tolerate another bite — anyone with a bit of common sense would have seen that coming, not us, we were that naive.
It was everything I remembered, but better.
The chicken was delicious, with a sweet slightly tangy sauce — not as sweet as the one I was used to. There were hints of spices, and a most convincing texture.
I was sold on the spot, and ready to fall in love again with this classic Chinese dish from the Szechuan province.
Now, now I had to figure out something myself.
In the four years since, I’ve tried endless combinations of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, Szechuan peppercorns, and cornstarch.
Sis, my Guinea pig and always the cheerleader, loves them all but I only frustrate because they’re not that Kung Pao Chicken.
I know I should move past this and just enjoy my (Paleo) Kung Pao Chicken for what it is.
I like to use cashews in lieu of the traditional peanuts Kung Pao chicken calls for. I love cashews, first of all, and they’re paleo too. I like to stick to authentic recipes, but a little tweaking sometimes makes it even better.
Spicy, slightly sweet, and so incredibly delicious. Yum!
(Paleo) Kung Pao Chicken Print this recipe!
1 lb / 453 gr boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts), cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons arrowroot powder*
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons wheat-free soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
2 teaspoons (mild-tasting) honey
½ teaspoon dried ginger
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil
6 small dried chili peppers, cut in half and seed removed (adjust to taste)
½ teaspoon crushed Sichuan peppercorns
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup chopped scallions
⅓ cup chopped raw cashews
*arrowroot powder acts like cornstarch (you can use cornstarch if that’s what you have in your pantry.)
Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a small saucepan combine arrowroot powder (or cornstarch), sesame oil, soy sauce, and four tablespoons of water. Give a good whisk making sure all the ingredients are combined.
Add honey and ground ginger, place over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large skillet (or wok), heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add chili peppers, garlic, and Sichuan peppercorns.
Sauté for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add chicken pieces and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until browned on all sides.
Add scallions and toss to combine.
Stir in the sauce and cook for further 2 to 3 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce starts to thicken.
Sprinkle with chopped cashews and serve!
One serving yields 179 calories, 11 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbs, and 13 grams of protein.