Published September 1, 2002.
Tired of the dull, gloppy restaurant renditions of this Sichuan classic? With a few Asian pantry staples, you can make a spicy kung pao that puts most restaurant versions to shame.
Kung pao is meant to have a fiery personality, but many restaurant versions are dismal, featuring tiny, tough shrimp drenched in a quart of pale, greasy, bland sauce.
A classic Sichuan stir-fry of large, tender shrimp, peanuts, and an assertive, well-balanced brown sauce.
Stir-fry marinated extra-large shrimp for just a few seconds, then add small whole red chiles and peanuts. This method ensures that the shrimp will not be overcooked, and toasting the peanuts deepens their flavor. Add diced red pepper (we found other vegetables to be superfluous), a generous 3 cloves of minced garlic, and 2 teaspoons of minced ginger. Use a mixture of chicken broth, black rice vinegar, Asian sesame oil, oyster-flavored sauce, hoisin sauce, and cornstarch to form a potently flavored, syrupy sauce. Finish the dish by stirring in sliced scallions.list of recipes