My Chef's Hat - Kung Pao Chicken

For a long time I was not a fan of cooking with peanuts, or really any nuts for that matter.  I always had a really hard time understanding how that combination could possibly be a good thing.  But then I became a fan of pad thai.  I still didn't use the peanuts when I cooked it at home, but one night I forgot to request no peanuts when I ordered it at a restaurant, and was immediately hooked.  I think the saltiness adds just the right flavor.

I'm a big fan of making Asian recipes at home, to cut down on the sodium and oil.  I've had really good luck so far on the ones I've tried, and so when I saw a recipe for Kung Pao Chicken I knew I had to try it.  There's tons of different recipes for it, and they all call for the same basic ingredients, with a few minor variations here and there.

Here is the official recipe version:

And here's my version:

So yummy!  The recipe called for red pepper flakes, but a couple weeks ago I bought a big bag of dried red chiles so I went with those instead.  I kinda went a little overboard with the chiles and didn't take them out until it was time to eat, so it was pretty spicy, but it didn't overpower the dish.  When you order kung pao at a restaurant it's usually got peppers and onions.  I added the yellow pepper, but forgot about the onions until I was writing the time.  The sauce was really good, and added an amazing depth of flavor to the chicken. 

Recipe found on Food & Wine