So, if you've been following my hunt for Kung Pao Chicken you'll already know that my first attempt at cooking this dish was based mostly on the recipe I found from the Mama Chinese website. It was ok, but I knew that I could make it better and closer to the best version i've had from Quanjude in Melbourne.
One of the main deficiencies was the quality of the sauce. What i'm trying to get to is a thick, slightly sweet, syrupy sauce, dark & salty from the soy and with a deep earthy heat from the dried chillis. I thought I had figured out the main issue with this recipe and it seemed like it would be an easy fix.
For my second attempt i'd decided that the source of the sweetness should be the component that makes the sauce sticky and syrupy. I wanted to try using mollasses but couldn't find it anywhere, so instead used a couple of tablespoons of treacle.
This seems to have done the trick, but the main difficulty now is timing everything correctly & whipping stuff in & out of the wok so that the sauce reduces to a thick syrup without drying out the hunks of chicken. Oh, and also remembering to pick up cooking wine in which to marinade the chicken in advance.
I'd say i'm pretty close but there are a couple of other adjustments i'd like to make yet before i'd be totally happy with the recipe. I feel like it might need an additional vegetable of some kind, only I don't yet know what. I'm thinking possibly sliced onions that have been heavily caramelised might be a go, but that will have to wait until next time!