Healthy Kung Pao Chicken


Healthy Kung Pao Chicken


Healthy Kung Pao Chicken

I am an avid lover of Asian cuisine, it stems from my childhood years growing up in Hong Kong, and when I’m stuck for ideas on a busy day, it’s usually a Stir-Fry I turn to for a quick and easy meal. However, my favourite “to go to” recipe lately has been Kung Pao Chicken, a spicy recipe originating from the Szechuan province of China, which is comforting, filling and is packed with aromatic flavours. Also known as Gong Bao or Kung Po chicken, the main components of this tasty dish is chicken, Szechuan peppers, as well as Shaoxing wine and peanuts or cashew nuts.


Kung Pao Chicken

The dish is believed to be named after Ding Baozhen (1820–1886), a late Qing Dynasty official, and governor of Sichuan (formally Szechuan) Province. His title was Gongbao, and thus the name “Kung Pao” chicken is derived from this title. (Wikipedia) NB: During the Cultural Revolution, the dish’s name became politically incorrect because of its association with Ding. The dish was renamed “Fast-fried chicken cubes” (Hongbao Jiding) or “chicken cubes with seared chiles” (Hula Jiding) until its political rehabilitation in the 1980s under Deng Xiaoping’s reforms


Kung Pao Chicken

My simplified and healthy version today still uses the mandatory Szechuan peppers, but I’ve omitted the nuts and Shaoxing wine, mainly as I didn’t have any on hand when I made this dish, and to cut back on calories to make it Weight Watchers friendly. I don’t profess to call this an authentic version of the classic dish, but it has the main spice and ingredient elements of chicken, Szechuan peppers, coriander and chilli peppers, which still makes it a very flavoursome bowl of food.


Spiralised Vegetables

For those on the Weight Watchers diet, this comes in at a VERY low 5 Smart Points per serving, including the side salad of spiralised vegetables too. For those following the 5:2 fast diet, which I still do for one day a week, the total calorie count is only 281 calories, making it a perfect main meal choice for fast days. You can make it for a special Friday night “take away at home” meal, and if calories and dieting are not an issue, then serve it with a big bowl of steamed jasmine rice for a very filling and tasty alternative to a greasy commercial take-away meal, as well as being considerably cheaper on the purse strings too!


Kung Pao Chicken

I hope you enjoy this Chinese recipe as much as we do at Chez Lavender and Lovage, and if you don’t have a spiraliser, them you can serve the Asian side salad by using a vegetable peeler to make ribbons of carrot and courgettes. (I used a simple hand-held spiraliser by OXO, which is easy to store as it is small, is easy to clean and does the job perfectly) Karen 


OXO Spiralizer

Healthy Kung Pao Chicken

A healthy version of this classic Szechuan chicken dish, which is served with a spiralised vegetable salad. This low-fat version is adapted from a Weight Watchers magazine recipe and is only 5 Smart points per generous serving. Also called Gong Bao or Kung Po, this dish always contains Szechuan peppers and is fragrantly hot rather than spicy hot.

Ingredients

  • 600g skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns
  • Fry-Light low-calorie spray
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1″ (2.5cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • 6 to 8 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
  • 3 carrots, spiralised or peeled into ribbons with a potato peeler
  • 2 courgettes, spiralised or peeled into ribbons with a potato peeler
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • fresh coriander leaves

Note

A healthy version of this classic Szechuan chicken dish, which is served with a spiralised vegetable salad. This low-fat version is adapted from a Weight Watchers magazine recipe and is only 5 Smart points per generous serving. Also called Gong Bao or Kung Po, this dish always contains Szechuan peppers and is fragrantly hot rather than spicy hot.

Directions

Step 1 Dice the chicken and place it in a dish; mix together 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of the rice wine vinegar and pour it over the chicken pieces. Mix to make sure all the pieces are coated, cover with cling film and allow to marinate in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours, or even overnight.
Step 2 Toast the Szechuan peppers in a dry frying pan until they release their aroma, then crush them with a pestle and mortar.
Step 3 Spray a large wok with the Fry-Light low calorie spray and fry the chicken pieces over a medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and the ginger and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Step 4 Whisk the remaining soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of therice wine vinegar together with the hoisin sauce, cornflour, chilli flakes and Szechuan pepper, then add to the wok. Cook for 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened, before adding the spring onions.
Step 5 Toss the spiralised (or ribbons of) carrot and courgette together in a bowl, then whisk the sesame oil with the remaining 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar and drizzle it over the vegetables. Add half of the coriander leaves and toss to mix.
Step 6 Garnish the Kung Pao chicken with the remaining coriander leaves and serve immediately with the vegetable salad and extra soy sauce to taste.


Spiralised Vegetables

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