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Presenting: Heidy and Erin Cook! Volume 1

This is Heidy:

She is lovely.  A very dear friend.

We had planned to have dinner together this week, after both returning from overseas.  However, we decided instead to buy some food and cook a meal together.

After my Great Wall Walk and the INCREDIBLE meal I ate at the end of it, which I swear I dream about, I have been obsessed with being able to cook a Gong Bao Ji Ding just like the one they served.   Finding a good, authentic-looking recipe has been tough, but last night’s meal was getting pretty close to what I ate at Simatai.

It’s a pretty simple process.  First, make the marinade then let the chicken sit in it for at least 15 minutes.  I prefer to leave it in for an hour.

Once the marinade is done, add sesame oil, garlic, ginger and chili to a fry-pan (I used an electric wok).  Add chicken and cook til chicken is done.  Remove from pan.  Add sliced vegetables (celery, red capsicum and the new love of my cooking life, water chestnuts), another tbsp of sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine and 1/3 cup of water.  Cook til liquid boils.

Finally, add the chicken back in, then throw in the cashews.  And the final product:

Recipe:

Gong Bao Ji Ding

500g chicken breast – diced
2tbsp soy sauce
1/4 t pepper
1/4t dried garlic granules
2 tbsp rice wine
1tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp sesame oil
2 or more fresh hot chilies, diced
2 tbsp minced ginger
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp cornstarch blended with 1 tbsp of water
Soy sauce or salt and pepper to taste
1/4C roasted cashews
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 cup diced red capsicum
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 small can water chestnuts, sliced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine
1/3 cup water

Mix and marinate the diced chicken with the next 5 ingredients. Set aside.

Heat oil in a non-stick wok or pan. Saute hot pepper, ginger root, and garlic. Add chicken and stir-fry until color turns (about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes). Remove.

Add the last 7 ingredients; bring to a boil and add soy sauce or salt and pepper to taste. Add blended cornstarch; mix well.

Add cooked chicken, nuts, sesame oil and mix well. Serve hot. Makes 6 servings.

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