Inn at Rancho Santa Fe’s Kung Pao Chicken (Thai Style)
• 3 cups roasted cashew nuts
• Canola oil, for frying
• 2 pounds chicken breast, cut into thin strips
• Sea salt
• White pepper
• 2 cups cornstarch, more if needed
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup garlic, peeled and chopped
• Dried chilies cut into 1 centimeter pieces, to taste
• 1 each red, green and yellow bell peppers, cut into triangles
• 2 cups green onions, roughly chopped
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 cup oyster sauce
Cashew nuts: Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Toast the cashew nuts on a baking sheet until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Chicken: Heat the canola oil in a very large, deep pot or heat an electric fryer to 360 degrees F. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Lightly dredge the chicken in cornstarch. Fry the chicken, in batches, until cooked and golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Vegetables: In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over moderate heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add chilies, peppers, onions and salt and pepper, to taste.
Create your plate: In a large serving bowl, combine chicken with vegetables. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce and cashew nuts. Toss gently to combine. Serve family style. Chef’s tip: This dish pairs nicely with jasmine rice or long grain white rice. Serves 6.