“Cooking is like love: it should be entered into with abandon or not at all” -Harriet van Horne
This week’s recipe is… Kung Pao Tofu with Rice!
Kung pao, which is a vegetable and chili stir-fry dish from the province known as Szechuan in China, is named after the former governor of the province. This governor was supposedly from the Qing Dynasty and was known as Gong Bao. Gong Bao translated into English is the “palatial guardian”.
KUNG PAO HISTORY
The original Kung Pao recipe usually uses chicken as its primary ingredient. When cooking this original version, the diced chicken is mixed with a prepared marinade. Similar to the chicken version, the tofu version is made from diced tofu.
The most important part of the dish is typically Szechuan peppercorns. These peppercorns give the Kung Pao dish its distinctive numbing flavor. The use of hot and numbing flavor is a typical element of Szechuan cooking.
In the west, Kung Pao cooking is sometimes called Kung Po and is commonly served as simply chicken and garlic. This dish is made from marinated chicken, stir-fried orange or orange juice, citrus juice, (like we used!) ginger, garlic, chicken broth, sugar, with salt and pepper to taste. Additionally, the dish sometimes includes whole roasted peanuts. And instead of chicken, western variations sometimes substitute other meat such as pork, duck, fish, or in our case–tofu!
Question: What was Kung Pao chicken renamed to during the cultural revolution?
Answer: Hongbao Jiding or “chicken cubes with seared chilies.” This occurred because Maoist radicals considered the dish a representation of the imperial system. Only in the 1980s was the name restored during Deng Xiaoping’s reforms.
Junior Chef Stars – The Premiere Cooking School for Kids and Teens
We hope you enjoyed this week’s recipe! May is here! Now is a great time to give your child the gift of a May Cooking Class!
To see a list of our upcoming classes, click here!
Which historical fact was the most surprising to you? Have you tried to original Kung Pao recipe with peppercorns? Let us know in the comments section below!