Posts Tagged With: rice wine

Kung Pao Chicken

Chinese Entree




2 chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic
1 stalk green onion
1 tablespoon soy sauce (2 more tablespoons later)
1½ tablespoons cornstarch (1 teaspoon more later)
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon Poultry MagicTM spice (¼ teaspoon more later)
2 teaspoons rice wine
1½ tablespoons water


1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon malt vinegar
¼ teaspoon Poultry MagicTM spice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

4 red chiles
½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vegetable oil


wok or skillet

Serves 4. Takes 50 minutes.


Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes. Mince garlic. Dice green onion. Mix 1½ tablespoons cornstarch, garlic, green onion, ginger, ¼ teaspoon poultry spice, rice wine, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and water. Cover all sides of the chicken cubes with this mixture. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.


Combine 1 teaspoon cornstarch, malt vinegar, ¼ teaspoon poultry spice, salt, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil in 2nd mixing bowl. Set aside.


Cut red chiles in half, remove seed, and mince (I cannot say strongly enough, WEAR GLOVES OR WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY WITH SOAP after touching the chiles and their seeds. They make your skin burn. My gosh, they cause pain. Don’t rub a throbbing temple or wipe sweat from your upper lip immediately after touching red chiles and their seeds. Your face will be on fire. And guy chefs, this is a really bad time to scratch your balls.)

Put unsalted peanuts and 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil in wok. Sauté at 350 degrees until peanuts start turning golden brown. Stir frequently. (The golden brown phase is astonishingly short. The following dark brown/black state is forever.)

Add the coated chicken cubes. Sauté at 350 degrees. Fry for 2 minutes or until chicken is done or no longer pink inside. Stir and turn cubes frequently.

Add red chiles and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Sauté at 350 degrees and stir until the peppers turn dark. Add soy/malt vinegar/sugar/sesame oil sauce. Cook until sauce thickens. Stir frequently.

Thank the person who washes and cleans after this meal. If you are both the cook and cleaner, sit down, have a cold root beer, and admire the halo above your head.


1) If all strange dishes taste like chicken, why not have chicken?

2) Kung Pao chickens are much milder than their more peppery cousins, Kung Fu Chickens.

3) Peppers that look similar to each other can vary greatly in spiciness. So, keep that in mind when you and a bunch of friends from Madison, Wisconsin travel to St. Louis, Missouri to see two classmates get married and you all stop in a restaurant that serves free peppers.

4) Throat germs don’t like peppers either. Hah, take that!

5) Some people think that cuisine near the Equator is filled with peppery dishes because food didn’t keep well there before refrigeration. I think people in Cuba eat more peppers than the Swedes because peppers are grown in Cuba and not in Sweden.


Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

Categories: cuisine, international, observations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pork Shumai

Chinese Appetizer



2 garlic cloves
1″ ginger root
2 green onions
1 pound ground pork
½ tablespoon cornstarch
¾ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons rice wine or dry sherry
½ tablespoon sesame oil
1½ tablespoons light soy sauce or soy sauce
40 wonton or gyoza wrappers
3 or so leaves Napa cabbage (You may substitute parchment paper. Be sure to punch holes in it.)
soy sauce for dipping


kitchen towel
x-ray goggles

Makes 40 pork shumai. Takes 1 hour.


Mince garlic, ginger root, and green onion. Add garlic, ginger root, green onions, ground pork, cornstarch, salt, rice wine, sesame oil, and soy sauce to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands. Add 1 tablespoon pork mixture to middle of wonton wrapper. Wet finger with water. Run finger around edges of wrapper. Wrap sides of wrappers around pork mixture. Seal edges with together with hands, starting at the bottom. Repeat until you have enough dumplings to fill steamer’s basket. Covered completed dumplings, shumai, with damp kitchen towel until they are ready for the steamer. You will likely need to steam the shumai in batches. Make another batch while the previous batch is being steamed.

Add water to bottom part of steamer until it is 1″ from reaching the steamer basket. Bring to boil using high heat. While water comes to boil, line steamer basket with 2 Napa cabbage leaves. Place dumplings on cabbage leaves.(This keeps dumplings from sticking to basket.) Leave ½” gaps between shumai. Cover steamer and steam at high heat for 5 minutes or until done. (If you neglected to pick up x-ray vision goggles at your store, you may sample one.) Remove steamed dumplings, shumai and serve. Continue until all batches have been steamed. Dip in soy sauce as desired.


1) Pork shumai comes from China.

2) Chinese spare ribs also come from China.

3) As do Chinese horoscopes.

4) And Chinese fireworks.

5) We can thus conclude someone from China invented Chinese checkers.

6) Although glass marbles have been invented and produced several times throughout history and in many different locations, their popularity is cyclical.

7) Indeed in the Middle Ages, adults generally forbade children to engage in any games, whether it was Pin the Tail on the Giraffe’s Neck (PTGN) or play marbles.

8) PTGN would have died out naturally as a recreational pursuit as no child during the Middle Ages could have pinned that high on a giraffe, even if he stood on his tippy does.

9) Playing Marbles (M) also waned in popularity. Medieval Children (MC) had to hike to the wheat fields to get away from parental supervision. Unfortunately, marbles got lost immediately in the amber waves of grain. (This image would ultimately inspire our great song “America the Beautiful.”) No more marbles for play, no more games of Marbles.

10) The game Marbles came to China with the Polo brothers in the thirteenth century.

11) The Great Khan loved the game. And since he loved the game so did all his Chinese subjects. Marbles Mania (MM) was poised to take off in the Land of the Panda.

12) But alas, the Polo brothers only brought enough marbles for one game of Chinese checkers. Then tragedy struck, a mighty wind blew away two marbles. A diligent search by the palace guard recovered one marble. Not enough for a game.

13) The Polo brothers, Marco and Ralph, tried diverting the Great Khan’s wrath by giving him three-and-twenty shirts with short sleeves, and a button-down collar. Sad to say, Khan didn’t cotton to these Polo Shirts. He even ordered the brothers’ execution. Things looked grim for the Polos. Only an IRS audit could have made things worse.

14) Then woo hoo, a divine wind blew dozens of pork shumais from the imperial kitchen onto Khan’s Chinese checkers boards. The game was saved for imperial household. The Chinese peasants could now partake as well. Laborers, at the end of a hot day, would invite neighbors over for a nice game of Chinese checkers, then dine on the pork-shumai marbles after playing was done.

15) Health restrictions in 1857 prohibited the use of pork-shumai marbles. (See Dr. Amos Keeto’s work, The Great Chinese Pork-Shumai-Marble Plague of 1856.) From that year on, Chinese checkers would be played only with glass marbles. Now you know.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

Categories: history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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