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"Threshold of Pain" Kung Pao Chicken


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Poultry

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Boneless chicken breast (I actually like thighs in this; too), cubed
  • 1/2 c Whole Chinese hot dried red peppers; stemmed
  • 1/2 c Roasted peanuts
  • 1 tb Fresh ginger; crushed and minced
  • 1 tb Fresh garlic; crushed and minced
MARINADE
  • 1 1/2 tb Cornstarch
  • 1 tb Cold water
  • 1 tb Soy sauce
SAUCE
  • 2 tb Soy sauce
  • 1 tb Mirin (rice wine)
  • 1 tb Sesame oil
  • 1 ts Sugar
  • 1 ts Cornstarch
  • 1 ts White vinegar
  • Peanut oil for frying
GARNISH
  • 4 Scallions; sliced into rings
  • 2 Fresh red -and-
  • 2 Green hot "finger" chiles (e.g. long Thai); sliced into rings

Directions:

Date: Thu, 6 Jun 1996 13:09:00 -0400 (EDT)
 
From: Larry Hunter <hunter@intr.net> About 15 years ago, the first restaurant with genuinely spicy food arrived in lovely New Haven, CT (where I was going to college). It was officially called "Threshold", although we all called it "Threshold of Pain". They sold Schezwan food at 1 through 5 "alarms". When you ordered Kung Pao chicken at 5 alarm (which I did often), there were more chiles than peanuts in the dish. Unfortunately, the restaurant folded in less than a year.
 
Here's an attempt to recreate that 5 alarm recipe. It needs to be scaled up to restaurant portions, but it's not a difficult dish. You can reduce the amount of dried chile to reduce the heat level to mainstream levels if absolutely necessary.
 
Make the marinade: Mix all ingredients and stir to dissolve cornstarch. Add chicken and marinate 30 minutes or longer. Mix sauce and set aside. Heat a bit peanut oil in the wok until just shy of smoking. Add chicken and stir fry until it is cooked and turns white. Remove and set aside. Add more oil to the wok, and reheat until almost smoking. Stir fry red peppers until they are crisp and start to turn black. Add ginger and garlic and stir fry for about 10 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the sauce, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Add the chicken and stir until tyhe chicken is heated through and the sauce is thick. Remove from heat and stir in the peanuts.
 
Serve over white rice, garnished with chile and scallion slices.
 
CHILE-HEADS DIGEST V3 #007
 
From the Chile-Heads recipe list. Downloaded from Glen's MM Recipe Archive, http://www.erols.com/hosey.