Alas, September was a month of neglect for this blog and you, my dear readers. Now, having successfully moved into a new house (and a new suburb) I'm sure I'll be able to find the time again to continue my hunt for the best and weirdest eats.
There are many things I like about this new place, and naturally the kitchen is one of them. Finally I've got a gas hob to cook on again, and its so spacious as well with plenty of benches, shelves, cupboards and all. Once I've procured a large stock pot I'll easily be able to take on some of the more adventurous cheeses - and I'll be able to resurrect my long abandoned pasta machine too.
But, at first it has all been about finding my feet here. It takes time to get used to the heat of an oven (note to self: must purchase oven thermometer), the nuances of the gas supply, or just where you stored everything. Once I had figured the basics out I decided it was time to revisit my work in progress recipe for Kung Pao Chicken.
Let's start with the sauce, I used:
- 1/2 t Shao Xing cooking wine
- 1/4 T Black Vinegar
- 1/2 T Rice Vinegar
- 2 T Light Soy Sauce
- 1 1/2 T Treacle
- 12 Dried Chillis
I mixed all but the chillis together well in advance, in the bowl it looked plenty dark enough and I thought I'd cracked the recipe. The next steps were easy, as the day before I had portioned up a chicken (I took photos of the process so will try to write a post sharing how to do so) and marinated the diced thigh & tenderloin in some more of the Shao Xing.
All that was required in the next step was to brown the chicken, set it aside and then do the same for the Onions.
Then it all goes back in the pan along with the sauce and Chillis. Only at this point I remembered that i'd forgotten to toast some peanuts right at the start. So this recipe left out that ingredient :)
Right at the end I tossed in some of the green end bits of Spring Onion, just for a colour & texture contrast - I think they actually work really well in the recipe though I have no idea if that's really part of the traditional varieties or not. All up it looked pretty good, even without peanuts.
And it tasted pretty good too. It was damned hot though, somehow the chillis have grown in power with the move to the 'burbs. The flavour balance was a little thrown because of it and in hindsight I think i'd have doubled the amount of Treacle. I'm still a little disappointed in the colour & consistency of the sauce too.
I'll swap out all of the Rice Vinegar for Black Vinegar and half of the Light Soy for Dark Soy next time I make this which will hopefully take care of the colour and reduce the sauce before adding it to the wok in order to get it thick and syrupy like I want.
But, those points aside, clearly it was a successful dish, and reigns as the best Kung Pao i've had since the last Kung Pao I made. Wellington has struggled to throw up a quality version so far, but, the hunt continues.