[MUSIC PLAYING] BETH MCKINNEY: My name is Beth McKinney. And today we are making Kung Pao Chicken. So I'm very happy to have you join me here.
This recipe is a version of a traditional Chinese dish. And I've made it a couple of different ways in my life, and this one might be easy. I certainly hope it is.
But as I mentioned, the main thing that you need to do when you're cooking stir-fry is to have all your ingredients cut up and ready to go. And so I'm going to start by making sure I have all the ingredients cut up.
This is one of those recipes where having the ingredients in your house is going to be the hardest part. And you need a little bit of a lot of different ingredients. So I'm going to tell you that I cut up these chicken thighs already-- boneless chicken thighs-- and I added the marinade into them ahead of time.
The difference between marinating tofu and fish and then versus chicken and beef is that chicken and beef take a little bit longer, so you want to absorb the flavor. So you want to marinate it probably more than 10 minutes. The tofu and the fish can be marinated less than 10 minutes.
OK, so I have already put in this dark soy sauce. Dark soy sauce is its own unique thing. It is very different than light soy sauce. And I want to do just a quick education here, and that is that dark soy sauce is thick, like maple syrup. You only need a small amount of it. Something like this can last me for 10 years. You don't use it very often. You don't use a lot of it. It's deeply flavored.
Regular soy sauce is sometimes called light soy sauce. And then if you get nutritionally light soy sauce, that means it has lower sodium in it. So just to make things as unclear as possible.
So we've already marinated the chicken. And I'm going to cut these vegetables up as quickly as I can in an effort to be timely.
This recipe has both kinds of pepper, red pepper and green pepper. And so I've already cut up the pepper and I've already cut up the celery. When you are at home, you're going to use every bit of the pepper. I might still cut it up. I'm just trying to work quickly here for us.
And the celery is also slightly bigger pieces as per the recipe. But you know what? You can cut them as thick or as thinly as you would like.
SPEAKER 1: Do you know of any soy sauce that doesn't have wheat in it?
BETH MCKINNEY: Tamari sauce. So what you would do is buy tamari sauce. It is just like soy sauce, but without wheat. Soy sauce is a fermented product, and it uses wheat for the fermentation.
So this is happening in a frying pan. And because of time, I'm starting to cook the chicken while I'm still getting the rest of the ingredients ready, because I made a lot of chicken, because there are a lot of people here, and so it's going to cook in two batches, OK? So I'm getting that ready.
But the next thing that we want to do is, let's see, make sure that we have all of our ingredients that we are going to use for the sauce, OK? These are going in at the end, so I'm just going to cut them up at the end. So you're going to get to watch me multitask right now.
When you're cooking something like chicken-- and I always touch my food, and then I wash my hands. It's just what I do. We're going to get this all cooked up. I'll do one layer. We really want it to stir-fry. We don't want it to boil. I'm going to see if I can do half and half.
And because this chicken is going to cook a little bit more, it needs to start cooking and be almost cooked, but then it's going back. The smaller the piece, the quicker it is going to cook. OK, there we go.
SPEAKER 2: Beth?
BETH MCKINNEY: Yes.
SPEAKER 2: Are there [INAUDIBLE] advantages or disadvantages to using a fry pan over a wok [INAUDIBLE]?
BETH MCKINNEY: Theoretically, the wok is supposed to get hotter and heats right up the sides-- here you're not using the sides-- so you get more surface area. But in reality, if you do just a little bit of stir-frying, a frying pan is fine.
And that's it. We're just getting it really hot and flipping it over. We're going to combine the soy sauce and the next six-- right? Six ingredients. And so I want you to watch me do this, because it's very scientific.
One tablespoon of dark soy sauce. One tablespoon of rice wine. And you should never confuse rice wine with rice vinegar. You only do that once. One tablespoon of white vinegar. This is from the recipe at home. I might use white vinegar and I might also use rice vinegar.
SPEAKER 3: What about rice wine vinegar?
BETH MCKINNEY: Rice wine vinegar and rice vinegar are the same thing.
SPEAKER 3: But rice wine [INAUDIBLE].
BETH MCKINNEY: Right. I'm using water instead of chicken stock. A tablespoon of sugar, and a teaspoon of sesame oil. This is just about done.
Also, used in small amounts, sesame oil is very flavorful. And if you accidentally stir-fry using it, thinking it's oil, it can burst into flames, and it has, in this very kitchen.
SPEAKER 4: Good to know.
BETH MCKINNEY: So this is chicken that is almost all the way cooked. And we'll just get that spread out. If this were a cooking class, I would not let you start the chicken until you had everything lined up.
SPEAKER 5: [INAUDIBLE].
BETH MCKINNEY: Mm-hmm. Exactly.
SPEAKER 6: Do you recommend a Teflon [INAUDIBLE]?
BETH MCKINNEY: I do not recommend Teflon. I don't like a pan with a coating. I have them at home. But actually, a stainless steel pan is the best. Not that you don't risk scraping anything off. I'll use metal on metal, which I wouldn't use on a Teflon pan at home. And some of these brown bits are really good.
OK, now we're going to make sure that we do have everything lined up. And so we will have the bell peppers next. The peanuts next.
Anybody know what these are? These are dried chilies. It says to use six or eight of them in the recipe. I'm reluctant to do that. I'm going to use a little bit less.
OK, this is almost done. I'm going to give it just a little bit more time-- come on-- while I cut up some garlic and some ginger. And we'll see just how fast we can make this happen. All right, how much garlic and ginger do we need? We don't need any garlic. OK. Two teaspoons of ginger.
I don't know if you've noticed this, but behind me is a rice cooker. And I love rice cookers, because you do not have to think. It cooks the rice. It finishes all for you.
And I want to give you kind of a fun thing to know about living in Ithaca. With the number of international people moving in and out of Ithaca, there are always really expensive, really nice rice cookers on Craigslist. Always. Always.
Normally, I'd feel bad about this pan, except I'm the one who has to wash it. So I'll just-- yeah. I'll be fine. I will be fine.
OK, so the next thing that happens is that we're going to add a little more pepper-- I mean, we're going to add a little more oil, and then we're going to add the peppers and the celery. There we go.
Considering how many people this is going to serve, the oil doesn't work into a lot of the calories. And I put the calories on the bottom for you.
OK, so when we get these guys stir-frying, we are going to stack up all our little gingers so they're all in a row.
SPEAKER 7: Beth, do you want the stove on? Is the stove on?
BETH MCKINNEY: This?
SPEAKER 7: Yeah.
BETH MCKINNEY: Thank you. Thank you. Yes, the electric stove is always interesting. Lucky for us, it stayed hot.
You probably wouldn't make all three of these dishes all at the same time unless you were having a dinner party and you were being really ambitious, which would be fantastic. And what's going to happen today, and I am working really hard to get us out of here in a timely manner, but what is going to happen today is we are going to have a plate that will have some rice in the middle and then sampling of each of the three for you to take when it's over. And so I'm going to get that ready.
I'm mixing in the pepper on here so that everybody gets some.
This is a gigantic one. I made two cups of rice in here. Oops. And so everyone will get a small scoop of rice. And there's a Keep Warm button on here. So I made it an hour ago and it's still perfectly good.
Believe it or not, these are cooking.
So Kung Pao Chicken is going to have two very interesting components to it that make it Kung Pao Chicken. Well, of course, the chicken, but it's the peanuts. And you can use cashews, if you want, or you can skip the peanuts, or you can put in more peanuts than it says, which is what I just did.
OK, the peanuts are going in. And then the second thing that makes this uniquely itself-- and I apologize for this. This is not ideal, but it's still OK. The next thing that makes it uniquely itself are these chilies. So these things are really hot. And what you're supposed to do with this is flavor the oil. And so there's no oil in there now, but what I'm going to do is I'm going to add a little bit of oil and then I'm going to add these. And they're going to-- they might make people cough. I'm just warning you now.
OK, and that goes in. It's very fragrant. You have to remember to take these out. Don't eat them.
OK, so cooking them up in the middle just a little bit. It does say add garlic. I think I forgot the garlic. You might need some garlic in here. Let's see if I can do that.
Another way to flavor the oil-- these are tiny little garlic cloves-- is just to put a whole garlic clove in, right? So we'll just smash it up a little bit. That's another thing that perhaps you will want to take out. OK, so we've got things flavored. I'm going to start coughing.
Now we're going to add everything back in. We've got the sauce that we've made. And this is done.
If you'll notice, when I got the chicken ready, one of the things that you add to the chicken, which you did not see, is you add some cornstarch to it. So there's some thickening power in here.
And the other great thing that is happening is that all the stuff that got stuck to the bottom is sort of coming off. OK, but this is now finished. And I'm going to let it sit here on the burner, just so the peppers cook a little bit more while I set up the next recipe. OK, this is Kung Pao.
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An easy and tasty dish with chicken, peppers and peanuts. Demo presented by Cornell Wellness staff Beth McKinney, RDN.