The many and various ways I pass the time now has a new addition. Usually it involves drinking coffee whilst sitting at a computer keeping in touch with chums, or sipping wine sitting on our tiny terrace catching the sun, and wondering what else I can do to avoid any cleaning or tidying or putting away of stuff and things that aren't even MINE. And now I am going to type this blog. Provided that doesn't become a chore as well, in which case...

Friday, 31 January 2014

Another New Year Already?

Welcome to the Year of the Horse, one and all.  The Husband and The Dog and I are going to mark the Lunar New Year with this recipe, courtesy of an FB friend who gave me a link to it.  It is from a blog by a woman called Fuchsia Dunlop.

Photos to follow, which will be added and inserted when I have some, including action shots of The Husband sparking up his beloved double wok burner which resides splendiferously in the middle of our range cooker hob.

Gong Bao chicken with peanuts
gong bao ji ding

"This dish, also known as Kung Pao chicken, has the curious distinction of having been labelled as politically incorrect during the Cultural Revolution. It is named after a late Qing Dynasty (late nineteenth-century) governor of Sichuan, Ding Baozhen, who is said to have particularly enjoyed eating it – gong bao was his official title. This association with an Imperial bureaucrat was enough to provoke the wrath of the Cultural Revolution radicals, and it was renamed ‘fast-fried chicken cubes’ (hong bao ji ding) or ‘chicken cubes with seared chillies’ (hu la ji ding) until its political rehabilitation in the 1980s.

2 boneless chicken breasts (about 300g or 3/4 pound in total)
3 cloves of garlic and an equivalent amount of ginger
5 spring onions, white parts only
2 tbsp groundnut oil
a handful of dried red chillies (at least 10)
1 tsp whole Sichuan pepper
75g (2/3 cup) roasted peanuts

For the marinade:
½ tsp salt
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
1½ tsp potato flour
1 tbsp water

For the sauce:
3 tsp sugar
¾ tsp potato flour
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
3 tsp Chinkiang vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp chicken stock or water


"Serves 2 as a main dish with rice and one stir-fried vegetable dish, 4 with three other dishes

  1. Cut the chicken as evenly as possible into 1cm strips and then into small cubes. Mix with the marinade ingredients.
  2. Peel and thinly slice the garlic and ginger, and chop the spring onions into Icm (1/2 inch) chunks. Snip the chillies into 1.5cm (3/4 inch) sections, discarding seeds as far as possible. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Pour a little groundnut oil into the wok and heat until it smokes, swirling the oil around to cover the entire base of the wok. Pour off into a heatproof container. Add 3 tbsp fresh oil and heat over a high flame. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the chillies and Sichuan pepper and stir-fry for a few seconds until they are fragrant (take care not to burn them).
  4. Add the chicken and continue to stir-fry. When the chicken cubes have separated, add the ginger, garlic and spring onions and stir-fry until they are fragrant and the meat is just cooked.
  5. Give the sauce a stir and add to the wok, continuing to stir and toss. As soon as the sauce has become thick and lustrous, add the peanuts, mix them in, and serve immediately."


  1. Oh, yum. And, of course, I've not had breakfast.

    Now all I want is Gung Bao Chicken. :-)


    1. Sorry, Pearl...

      Hey, you feeling any better? I see The Dog being sick at least once a week, and it just isn't pretty. But I guess your appetite is back, at the very least.

  2. Hari OM
    Loving the sound of those flavours - of course your's truly would sub Tofu for the chook - but still. YUMMMOOOO. It's teatime, and you got me thinking... YAM xx

  3. Sorry guys, no photos, it was all so fast and furious doing a stir fry and the noodles we had it with kicked out so much steam it fogged up the camera. But it was excellent, even using sherry for the wine, rice vinegar for the specified vinegar and not having any sichuan pepper. Oh, and substituting cornflour for the potato flour. We are SUCH a long way from the nearest Chinese supermarket!

  4. Sounds so good I won't show this page to DH or he'll want me to have a go. and have virtually none of the ingredients. :-)

    1. We could chuck it together next time you come here for dinner, instead of the postponed proposed curry. Remind me nearer the time.

    2. No, no, no! DH would never forgive me if I deprived him of a proper curry. :-) We have a variety of stir-fries from time to time, though not as authentically Chinese as this, but I never make a proper curry.