It’s rare I cook from someone else’s cookbook but I do love cookbooks as a source of inspiration. I don’t know about you but often I’ll buy a cookbook only to be disappointed. A couple of weeks ago I bought Donal Skehan’s new cookbook titled ‘Everyday Cook‘ (which is available in the US, UK, Australia and such) and was pleasantly surprised by how many recipes I want to try. And I have made a couple, including this Kung Pao Chicken and Eggplant recipe that quite frankly I could eat every week for the rest of my life and not tire of it. Donal hails from Ireland and after living in the US for a few years has recently moved back to Ireland. His Everyday Cook cookbook has been voted number one in Ireland. A well-deserved achievement. I love the bold flavors of this Kung Pao chicken recipe and although I swapped black peppercorns for the authentic Szechuan peppercorns, I’m sure no one will take offense.Jump to Recipe
Even those who aren’t a fan of eggplant will like this recipe: not only do the eggplants become buttery but they’re like sponges soaking up any flavors you throw at them – in this case it’s the salty, sweet, hot and sour flavors that make this recipe so delicious, including the eggplant. This recipe is vibrant and moreish; I had to use unfamiliar restrain not to have seconds. Another boldly flavored recipe you’ll have to try is Hoisin, Snow Pea and Water Chestnut Stir-Fry. Until next time beautiful people, toodles, Lovoni xo
KUNG PAO CHICKEN AND EGGPLANT
- large wok
- 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped about 1 1/2 lbs/680g
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch cornflour
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry or Chinese cooking wine
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, plus 3 tablespoons extra
- 3 tablespoons runny honey
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus extra for cooking the chicken
- 1 medium eggplant, cubed
- 2 red bell peppers, deseeded and chopped
- 3 fat garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled ginger
- 1 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed – use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle use Szechuan peppercorns if you have them
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper chili flakes
- 8 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped or cashews if you can’t eat peanuts
- Steamed jasmine rice, to serve
- In a medium bowl, combine the chopped chicken, cornstarch, sherry and 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce; set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, honey and rice vinegar until well combined; set aside.
- In a large wok, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and stir-fry for 5 minutes until browned and softened. Add the bell pepper and stir-fry for 2 minutes until tender-crisp. Remove eggplant and bell pepper to a plate.
- Heat a tablespoon or so of oil in the same wok. Drain the chicken from the marinade and cook in two batches, for 5 to 6 minutes until browned and cooked. Remove chicken to a plate. Heat a little more oil in the wok over medium-high and add the remaining chicken. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until browned and cooked. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant.
- Return all the chicken to the wok. Add crushed black peppercorns, crushed red pepper, and the eggplant mixture; stir fry until well combined.
- Stir the soy sauce mixture and add to the wok. Stir-fry for 3 to 3 minutes until the sauce is thickened and coating the chicken and vegetables.
- Add most of the green onions, I like to keep some for garnish. Stir-fry to combine the green onions. Serve the chicken over steamed rice and sprinkle with peanuts and green onion.