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Sichuan Kung Pao Squid

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Kung Pao Squid

Szechuan Kung Pao Squid

Hank Shaw
This is an authentic recipe for Sichuan kung pao squid, but it can also be used with shrimp. Some of the keys to making this a real kung pao are marinating the squid in cornstarch and egg whites, as well as getting your hands on Sichuan pepper, which is readily available at Asian markets; it's not actually pepper, but the seed of a type of ash tree. Another fun thing to do is to score your squid in a cross-hatch pattern, so it curls up like in the picture. This recipe serves 4 as a main course.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 38 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb cleaned squid
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. sherry or Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 T. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T. water
  • 1 T. sesame oil
  • 1/2 t. cornstarch
  • 3-5 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 4 sliced green onions
  • 4-8 sliced small red chiles, fresh or dried
  • 1 t. powdered Sichuan pepper
  • 2 t. finely chopped ginger
  • 3 T. peanut or other vegetable oil

Preparation:

Make the marinade. Mix together in a large bowl the egg white, the salt and the tablespoon of cornstarch until it becomes a milky slurry.

Make the sauce. Mix together the soy sauce, water, sugar, Chinese cooking wine, rice vinegar, sesame oil and the 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk it all together until well combined.

Prepare the squid. You should start with skinless, cleaned squid tubes. Once you are at this stage, slit open the tubes with a small sharp knife and make sure the insides are clean.

Now slice carefully a cross-hatch pattern on the surface of the squid tube that used to be the inside. Do not cut all the way through the tube.

Cut each tube into squares about an inch across. You can make them a little larger or smaller, if you'd like.

Marinate the squid in the egg white-cornstarch mixture for 10 minutes.

Cook the dish. Heat the oil in a wok or large saute pan over high heat for a full 2 minutes, or until the oil begins to smoke, whichever comes first.

Add the ginger, chiles, Sichuan pepper and garlic, then stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the green onion and stir-fry for one more minute.

Add the squid, and stir-fry for one minute, mixing and turning all the time.

Add the sauce and stir-fry for no more than 2 more minutes. You want the squid to curl into cylinders and the sauce to thicken.

Serve immediately over steamed rice.

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