Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

What makes an authentic KungPao Chicken ?


SobaAddict70
 Share

Recommended Posts

The other night I had Kung Pao Scallops. Think of stir-fried scallops with veggies, chiles and peanuts in a nice tasty brown sauce. Perhaps a bit oily but nothing spectacular. It wasn't bad, it was kind of....meh.

If the classic Sichuan standard is the kung pao chicken at Grand Sichuan here in New York, redolent with Sichuan peppercorns and scallions and chiles, how can restaurants elsewhere and everywhere aspire to the gold ring? It seems so impossible to reach, given the tendency to standardize everything.

What next? Kung Pao Tempeh? I can just see it now.

Share your kung pao stories and other tales of Sichuan cuisine, good or bad.

Soba

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Share your kung pao stories and other tales of Sichuan cuisine, good or bad.

The only kung pao story I have is watching the movie "Kung Pow". It is a parity on many of the Chinese king fu movies made in 70's, and it took many clips out of one particular 1978 flick titled 'Tiger and Crane Fists'. Some scenes worth a few cheap laughs, but the movie as a whole is a bit silly.

This is not food related. Oops, wrong forum.

Okay, I watched "Kung Pow" while eating some Kung Pao chicken. That would do it.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Other tales of Sichuan food?

The airport at Chongqing had a Chinese dining room and a Western dining room that had Chinese food. Go figure. But the food in each was really good. My food log highlights Deep Fried Pea Sprouts that were spicy hot. The rest of the food at that airport (ate there twice) was as good as if not better than any restaurant.

Also had Kung Pao Scallops in Chongqing. Where do the scallops come from, I wonder?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was a student in Nanjing, the most popular restaurant near the university (popular with the gweilos, that is) bent the culinary guidelines and offered kung pao shrimp, kung pao tofu, and other assorted abominations...........sadly, I believe these dshes sold as well as the traditional one, so the owner had little incentive to guard the traditional.

My other blue-eyed friends viewed this positively, as market forces influencing trade.............

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was a student in Nanjing, the most popular restaurant near the university (popular with the gweilos, that is) bent the culinary guidelines and offered kung pao shrimp, kung pao tofu, and other assorted abominations...........sadly, I believe these dshes sold as well as the traditional one, so the owner had little incentive to guard the traditional.

Susan,

do you object to these dishes because they don't adhere to tradition or because they don't taste good?

I think modifying traditional recipes to come up with new ones is a good thing. Some of the best Chinese cooking that I've had are very non-traditional.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, what is traditional kung po?

Am I just misguided? lazy? Do you use toban sauce (chili bean sauce) as a base?

I use it in ma po tofu along with the sechuan peppercorns. I use it in kung po along with fresh chilis.

For my kung po, I use diced chicken breast, with waterchestnuts, baby corn, diced red, green, yellow peppers, celery, onion, topped with dry roasted unsalted peanuts. I prefer to use whole sechuan peppercorns, but my daughter doesn't like to be surprised, so I grind them a bit. :smile:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate to answer this question as Ms. Dunlop as been known to pop in from time to time, but I think the traditional kung pao is marinated chicken, lots o' chillies, garlic, ginger, scallions, Sichuan peppercorns and peanuts. I think the seasonings are the usual sweet/sour suspects and you fry the hell out of the chillies to get the oil nice and scented before you cook any thing else. I don't think it ever has any sort of veggies added, I 've found that version to be a more Cantonese-restaurant-cooking-in-a western-setting version of a Sichuan dish.

Oh look... I found Ms. Dunlop's recipe for Gong Bao Gai on the Leite page. Do try it this way some time... in this case I much prefer the original version (unlike ma po where I like both depending on mood).

regards,

trillium

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh look... I found Ms. Dunlop's recipe for Gong Bao Gai on the Leite page. Do try it this way some time... in this case I much prefer the original version (unlike ma po where I like both depending on mood).

Thanks, Trillium, for the link.

I will try it next time...but I wonder about the number of chilis, and then she said the sechuan peppercorns will give you a tingle!? :blink: Whoa!

I find that after I fry the chilis in oil, I am already getting more than a tingle. :laugh:

Mind you, the chilis burst in like fire in your mouth, but the sechuan peppercorns buzz your lips. They are kinds sneaky.....

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was a student in Nanjing, the most popular restaurant near the university (popular with the gweilos, that is)

When were you there? I was there at the end of 1997.

Do you mean the most popular restaurant near xi yuan, the foreign students' dorm, or someplace else?

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had kung pao chicken in Shanghai where it came with Chinese broccoli in it, also it seemed the chef forgot the peanuts and so after having brought the dish out, they got another bowl and dumped the peanuts on top...Good kung pao experiences abound as in Beijing this dish can be found everywhere and I rather like the version that most restaurants serve. In China, I've only come across kung pao chicken (with the exception of my oft talked about kungpao bullfrog which was an exceptional change to the forumula). In a pinch (or at times when extremely lazy), I will use the kung pao packets made by McCormick which I always make sure to get in China.

Edited by chengb02 (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd say the baby corn is a dead giveaway to that.

Must be a western thing... As I think back, I noticed the "vinegry" touch in the kung po...and I didn't put vinegar or rice wine or anything like that in. So, I just opened a can :huh: of baby corn and the cobs have a slight touch of sour. Besides, they look so pretty. :raz::laugh::laugh:

Have you ever seen fresh baby corn? A friend of mine tried to grow some years ago.

So few for so much work!

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HUH??

You read that right. It's her cheat, and it's her mother's cheat, too. McCormick's sells a lot of the stuff in Shanghai. Mapo doufu, which Shanghainese usually (and ironically) call mala doufu is, after all, outside the Shanghai cuisine tradition, and the dumbed-down version is exotic enough for them. I don't think Ju-Ju knows what a Sichuan peppercorn is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

More on "Shanghainese Ma La Doufu"......

Tonight I complimented Ju Ju on the better-than-usual ma la doufu she made for dinner.

"It's not ma la doufu," she said.

"It looks like and tastes like ma la doufu to me."

"It's not Shanghainese ma la doufu," she clarified. "It's American ma la doufu."

"Why is it American ma la doufu?"

"Because I didn't use the [McCormick's Mapo Doufu Seasoning Mix] from Shanghai."

"What did you use?"

"Lao Gan Ma la jiang."

"Lao Gan Ma is Chinese, isn't she?" I countered.

"Yes."

"So, how does that make it American?"

"Because I bought it in America."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made kung pao seitan once, and everybody who ate it agreed it was the best kung pao anything they had ever eaten.

Recipe? Please? My Asian cooking skills are nonexistent. I'd like to start with some standards.

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recipe?  Please?  My Asian cooking skills are nonexistent.  I'd like to start with some standards.

You could do much worse then starting with the recipe given in the link I posted upthred. It pretty much is the standard. It's just spelled a little differently but it means kung pao chicken.

regards,

trillium

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

KungPao Chicken, the most ordered Chinese dish in America, is an adaptation of an adaptation.

It was originally from Guizhou province then made famous in Sichuan and then became a milder and sweeter dish in Canton and finally evolved into the familiar American version with bell pepper and onion.

Today’s New York Times has an interesting article about what makes an authentic Kung Pao /GongBao chicken.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/23/dining/23gong.html.

Here is a summery: The original version, in contrast to the Sichuan version, uses dark meat instead of white meat, fresh zi ba pepper instead of dry one, sweet sauce instead of bean sauce and no peanuts.

Keep in mind that these are just changes from Guizhou to its neighbor Sichuan.

The cook in Guizhou probably will have a hard time recognizes the version in American Chinese restaurant.:shock:

Overall, it is an informative article except one mistake; it describes another famous Guizhou product mao-tai as “rice liquor”, which is wrong. (It is made of sorghum).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is a hundred year argument between Sichuan people and Guizhou people. On each side, they insist their recipe is authentic.

First of all we should research the history of Kungpao Chicken. Both of Sichuanese and Guizhounese agree that the name of Kungpao Chicken 宫保鸡丁 is from the royal title of Mr. Ding Bao Zhen 丁宝桢, who was a Guizhounese and became to the governor of Sichuan province. I believe either Sichuanese or Guizhounese have enough evidence to approve the authentic level of their own recepie.

Two version of Kunpao chicken are all using diced chicken. Personally, I prefer dark meat better. For the usage of Zi Ba pepper, Sichuan chefs call Zi Ba Chicken for Guizhou version Kungpao Chicken. If you notes one of the most popular dish in Grand Sichuan, Guizhou chicken is very similar to Zi Ba chicken.

"All the way to heaven is heaven."

___Said by St. Catherine of Sienna.

Let's enjoy life, now!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...