with Spiralised Asian Vegetable Salad
I am an avid lover of Asian cuisine, it stems from my childhood years growing up in Hong Kong, and when I’m stuck for ideas on a busy day, it’s usually a Stir-Fry I turn to for a quick and easy meal. However, my favourite “to go to” recipe lately has been Kung Pao Chicken, a spicy recipe originating from the Szechuan province of China, which is comforting, filling and is packed with aromatic flavours. Also known as Gong Bao or Kung Po chicken, the main components of this tasty dish is chicken, Szechuan peppers, as well as Shaoxing wine and peanuts or cashew nuts.
The dish is believed to be named after Ding Baozhen (1820–1886), a late Qing Dynasty official, and governor of Sichuan (formally Szechuan) Province. His title was Gongbao, and thus the name “Kung Pao” chicken is derived from this title. (Wikipedia) NB: During the Cultural Revolution, the dish’s name became politically incorrect because of its association with Ding. The dish was renamed “Fast-fried chicken cubes” (Hongbao Jiding) or “chicken cubes with seared chiles” (Hula Jiding) until its political rehabilitation in the 1980s under Deng Xiaoping’s reforms
My simplified and healthy version today still uses the mandatory Szechuan peppers, but I’ve omitted the nuts and Shaoxing wine, mainly as I didn’t have any on hand when I made this dish, and to cut back on calories to make it Weight Watchers friendly. I don’t profess to call this an authentic version of the classic dish, but it has the main spice and ingredient elements of chicken, Szechuan peppers, coriander and chilli peppers, which still makes it a very flavoursome bowl of food.
For those on the Weight Watchers diet, this comes in at a VERY low 5 Smart Points per serving, including the side salad of spiralised vegetables too. For those following the 5:2 fast diet, which I still do for one day a week, the total calorie count is only 281 calories, making it a perfect main meal choice for fast days. You can make it for a special Friday night “take away at home” meal, and if calories and dieting are not an issue, then serve it with a big bowl of steamed jasmine rice for a very filling and tasty alternative to a greasy commercial take-away meal, as well as being considerably cheaper on the purse strings too!
I hope you enjoy this Chinese recipe as much as we do at Chez Lavender and Lovage, and if you don’t have a spiraliser, them you can serve the Asian side salad by using a vegetable peeler to make ribbons of carrot and courgettes. (I used a simple hand-held spiraliser by OXO, which is easy to store as it is small, is easy to clean and does the job perfectly) Karen
Other healthy recipes on Lavender and Lovage: