Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kung Pao Chicken Tacos - Fusion Fabulous!

A long day at work plus a hard workout meant I was on the look out for a fast and yummy dinner.  The answer appeared to be Kung Pao Chicken Tacos featured in the October issue of Cooking Light.  

Kung Pao Chicken Tacos 
The magazine claims inspiration for this dish from the "hip Korean taco trucks."  Apparently those are all over around here and, apparently, I am not hip enough (or just to tired!) to find them.  :-)  So I resorted to making my own.

Although they were delicious, the 30 minute prep time was a bit of a stretch.  There was quite a bit of chopping and mixing to get this dinner on the table!

The recipe called for chicken thighs - which I normally don't care for - but in this recipe they are a winner!  The sauce gives them a spicy sweet taste that was very appealing.  I warmed up/toasted the corn tortillas on the cast iron griddle that straddles two burners on my stove and they came out perfectly - A bit toasty, but still soft and pliable. 

My husband gave it two thumbs up and a definite do-over rating - although I think that he was rethinking when he saw the pile of dirty dishes that it created!

The bonus of the meal is...
 Leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  So...A little over 30 minutes prep and you get a dinner and 2 lunches - no food truck needed!

Kung Pao Chicken Tacos
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch, divided
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste) (I get mine at H-Mart)
  • 1 Large clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp coarsely chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  • 3/4 cup diagonally sliced celery (about 2 stalks)
  • 8 (6-in) corn tortillas
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 lime wedges
1.  Place chicken in a large zip-top bag.  Add 1 Tbsp soy sauce and marinate at room temp for 30 minutes.  Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Place 1/4 cup cornstarch in a shallow dish.  Sprinkle the chicken evenly with salt.  Add chicken to cornstarch in dish, and toss chicken to thoroughly coat.  Shake off excess cornstarch.

2.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp canola oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add half of coated chicken; saute for 6 minutes or until done, turning to brown.  Remove chicken from pan using a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.  Repeat the procedure with remaining 1 Tbsp oil and coated chicken.

3.  Combine remaining 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch, remaining 2 Tbsp soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and sambal oelek in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.  Microwave at High for 1 1/2 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring twice.  Stir in garlic.  Combine soy sauce mixture, chicken , peanuts, and celery; toss to coat chicken.

4 Toast tortillas under broiler or on a griddle until lightly blistered, turning frequently.  Place 2 tortillas on each of 4 plates; divide chicken mixture evenly among tortillas.  Top each taco with green onions and bell pepper drips; serve with lime wedges.

Enjoy Your Fusion Feast!!!

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