My kitchen has been a wreck for a month! And counting! Not being able to cook, blog or smell anything but sawdust and paint is depressing. It doesn't help that my mom is gravely ill and I feel helpless on that front as well. I'd like to say the kitchen is almost done. I'd love to say that my mom's illness is being addressed and all will be fine. Grasping for stability and it hurts to not have any certainty to lean on.
I'd only been to Guerneville, CA once long ago for the Reggae on the River festival. I'm not sure where my memory went, but Guerneville isn't what I remembered. It's a lovely town with a charming, old Main Street only a couple blocks long, but with a beach at the river just a couple blocks away.
I met up with my dear friend of 30 years Kalyanee Mam at Pocket Creek Farm, the home of the non-profit organization Pangea's Promise. Pocket Creek Farm is run by a lovely couple, Pam and Steve. We spent the day setting up the Pocket Creek Farmstand, thinning out the sage and thyme in the herb garden, then going to Kalyanee's "treehouse"—a cottage nestled high in the boughs of ancient redwoods—to cook a farm-to-table, vegetarian Chinese lunch. Afterwards, Kalyanee and I went downtown for some of the best ice cream I've ever had at Guerneville Bank Club and little stroll to the beach. Yes, there's a beach in Guerneville!
You may have eaten a few varieties of Kungpao Chicken (Gong Bao Ji Ding in Mandarin). Or maybe you've eaten only the one served at Panda Express. Quite possibly, you've never had it before because there's never been one around. Good news! You can make it yourself because it's easy.
Why is Kungpao chicken easy?Because it uses very few main ingredients with a smattering of essential sauces. You've got to have the chicken, chili bean paste, garlic, green onion, chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and roasted peanuts. Okay, that sounds like a lot, but once you start cooking Chinese food you'll have your pantry stocked with soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, chilis and a few other spices. You'll find yourself using different combinations of the sauces and spices as you stir-fry other easy Chinese recipes.
While there are many variations, here's a super easy Kungpao chicken for you to try. I've linked some of the ingredients to where you can buy them on Amazon for your reference to buy them locally or online if they're not available where you're at. Try out Mr. Zhang's easy recipe for Kungpao chicken and please let me know what you think. Let me know if you have any questions!
I love to cook easy, homestyle recipes for family and friends. In this blog, you'll find stories and recipes I've learned from families in China and other parts of the world.