Chinese for the Holidays – Kung Pao Turkey

There is a stereotype that all Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas Eve, well…. my family either ate Chinese at our favourite restaurant or we had Texas barbecued brisket from Ft. Worth, Texas’ famous Cousin’s Bar-B-Q , Greenberg’s smoked turkey from Tyler, Texas and the fixins: homemade mustard coleslaw, Mom’s baked beans, etc.  I can’t eat it anymore because it is not kosher, but Cousin’s make some of the best damn barbecued brisket I have ever had. One of these days I am going to try to make my own.

So, in keeping with the family tradition, I made a non-traditional Kung Pao Turkey by torchlight. No, it is not a family  tradition to cook by torchlight on Christmas Eve: the power went out right as I was finishing chopping the vegetables. Mr BT helped me finish the meal by holding a torch over the stove top. Luckily, I have a gas stove top, so I could continue cooking in the dark. The power didn’t come on until halfway through dinner, so we ate by candlelight. Awwwww, how romantic.

Mr BT and I wish you and yours a very happy holidays!

Kung Pao Turkey
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 4
Author: Baroness Tapuzina
For the Kung Pao Turkey
  • 250 g 1/2 lb skinless turkey breast, cut into cubes
  • 100 g cashews or peanuts toasted
  • 2 whole red fresh chilies
  • 3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger thinly sliced
  • 3 green onions chopped
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 small courgettes diced
  • 1 small container white button champignon mushrooms, sliced
For the marinade:
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ½ tablespoon Chinese rice wine or cooking wine
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
For the sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or cooking wine
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water or chicken broth
  1. Roast the cashews in a 160C (300F) oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. Mix the water, rice wine, salt and cornstarch in a medium size bowl, add the chicken and marinate for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients of the sauce together.
  4. Heat oil in a wok or frying pan over high heat and stir fry the chicken until opaque and half cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. Stir fry the chilies, garlic and ginger for a few seconds and then add back the chicken and give it a good stir. Add the mushrooms and the courgettes and stir for a couple of minutes. Then add the sauce and the bean sprouts and stir until the sauce thickens. Finally, add the cashews and the green onions and stir until mixed through.
  6. Serve immediately with a bowl of steamed rice.
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