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Kung Pao Chicken? Done! (Just don’t tell mom how)

Don't tell her mom, but Liu Jue discovered a clean and quick microwaveable way to an all-time Chinese soul food favorite


Like the idea of cooking Chinese at home, but hate the oil smoke and the splash of stir fry? Well, worry no more. There is a way to do it clean and quick: use the microwave (微波炉 wéibōlú). I am not talking about heating up the takeout food, no! There is so much more you can do with a microwave, from dinner dish to desserts. Not a traditional appliance for Chinese kitchens, but the microwave has worked its way into most urban families’ kitchens. Granted that my mother would still refuse to give up her wok – “it’s not the proper way to cook, plus, the ingredients will stay raw!” she’d say – I would be happy to use a microwave to avoid the cooking mess any day. Let alone the fact that there’s no excessive oil involved that would make your food greasy and unhealthy!

Let’s start with a Chinese signature dish: Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁 gōng bǎo jī dīng). With its sweet savory taste and interesting story behind it, this Sichuan dish is widely enjoyed both in China and abroad.


300g chicken
20g carrot
2.5g salt
10g baked peanut
1 whole green onion
3 slices of ginger
Half a red pepper
1 tea spoon honey
1 tea spoon soy sauce
1 tea spoon black pepper powder

Step 1: Slice the chicken into cubes half a centimeter wide or smaller. Try to achieve equal size with all cubes, so that they cook evenly.

Step 2: Chop the green onion and red pepper into smaller pieces than the chicken cubes, and shred the ginger.

Step 3: In a large container, mix the baked peanuts with chicken cubes, chopped green onion, red peeper and shredded ginger. Add a tea spoon of honey, a tea spoon of soy sauce, salt and black pepper powder.

Step 4: Mix the materials and leave them to marinate for 3 hours (you can prepare the ingredients in the morning and cook it at noon.)

Step 5: Chop the carrot into similar cubes to the chicken, and mix them with the marinated materials.

Step 6: In a microwave proof plate, spread the materials into an even layer, and cover with a microwave safe plastic wrap (保鲜膜 bǎoxiān mó). Poke a few holes into the film with a toothpick (牙签 yáqiān) to release the steam that will result from heat.

Step 7: Microwave for 6 minutes at medium heat. Heat it longer if your layer on the plate is thick.

Step 8: Serve hot and enjoy like Ding Baozhen would!

Now learn about some of the history behind this dish! 

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