Big Daddy Kung Pao Chicken

INGREDIENTS: (Serves two)

1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 or 2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon Chinese hot brown bean sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons Big Daddy Port
1 tablespoon white rice-wine vinegar (or Mount Bethel Gourmet Red Wine Vinegar)
1 teaspoon white sugar
Dried red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons water
2 - 3 tablespoons peanut oil
4 to 6 small whole dried hot red peppers
1/2 cup shelled roasted peanuts


1. Cut the chicken into bite-size cubes and set aside.

2. Peel & mince garlic

3. In a small bowl, blend the minced garlic, brown bean sauce, hoisin sauce, Big Daddy Port, vinegar, sugar and dried red-pepper flakes to taste, adding a little water if necessary to make a thin sauce about the texture of pancake batter. (I always keep an open bottle of Big Daddy in the fridge for a glass before I go to bed, but it is also great to have it on hand for cooking!)

4. Put a wok or skillet on a burner over high heat until its hot enough that a few drops of water bounce before turning into steam. Add the peanut oil and continue heating until it shimmers. Throw the whole hot red peppers into this very hot oil, then put in the chicken pieces and stir-fry quickly for a minute or so, just until they lose their raw color and start turning light brown. Reduce heat to medium-low, put in the sauce mix, and stir until it thickens and coats the chicken pieces and the garlic bits have cooked. Pour it into a warm serving bowl, garnish with the peanuts, and serve with steaming white rice and a glass of Domaine Montel Merlot or Cabernet.

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