Kung Pao Chicken
Low Carb Chinese Food
I can’t think of one person who doesn’t like Chinese food. But on the keto diet, enjoying your favorite Chinese dish can be a struggle. Most Asian dishes tend to be carb heavy featuring large amounts of sugar, rice, noodles or flour. So, I searched around for an Asian dish to knock the carbs right out of. Because of my love of spicy food and a lack of most of your worst carb culprits in the dish, I settled on Kung Pao Chicken(Gong Bao). This is one of those dishes where you can bump down the carb count without anyone noticing, kinda like my Chicken Paprikash recipe. All we really had to do to make this Kung Pao Chicken more keto friendly is switch out the sugar for Swerve Sweetener(you could use stevia though) and lessen the amount of peanuts. Serve it with cauliflower rice or eat it by itself, it’s delicious either way.
American Chinese Food
Here in the United States Chinese food typically takes two main forms. The first is the ubiquitous Chinese takeout places. For these restaurants, no matter where you go, the food tends to taste extremely similar to almost exactly the same. I’m going to lump the typical American Chinese buffet in this category too. There’s actually a good reason why all these places taste similar, with similar menus and even names and decor. Thats because its worked for Chinese immigrants in the past. Relocating to a new country is difficult. If the tried and true works, the risk is less. Another reason is that most of these places also get their food frozen from the same restaurant suppliers, like Sysco or Bakers and Chefs. This is NOT authentic Chinese cuisine. I classify this as Americanized Chinese food.
The second type of Chinese food place is your more authentic Chinese Cuisine restaurant. The easiest areas to find these restaurants are either in areas where there is a large ethnic Chinese population, think China Town, or in an expensive upscale restaurant that might specialize in Hot Pot or Sichuan Cuisine. Between the two types of Chinese places, I’ll choose the latter. The flavors are unique and much more complex. You can really break out your food explorer side and go on a trip. Half the time, I’m not even really sure what I’m ordering. In this recipe, I’m shooting for the latter type of food. This recipe is not meant to taste like Americanized Chinese food. This recipe is trying to recreate authenticity.
Authentic Sichuan Cuisine and Kung Pao Chicken
Let’s be clear, I’ve never been to Sichuan Province, China. Actually, I’ve just straight up never been to China in general. The way I came to trying to recreate an authentic Kung Pao Chicken recipe and then making it keto was through a lot of research. First, I went to a few of the most authentic Chinese restaurants I could find and tried theirs. Then, I watched all the videos I could find of actual Sichuan chefs making the dish and what their recipes were. I scoured the internet for authentic Sichuan recipes for the dish as well. Finally, I raided my local library for cookbooks that could shed some light on the topic. The same few ingredients and techniques continued to pop up. Eventually, it became clear that the best recipes were all mild variations on the same theme and basic ingredients. Then I played with those recipes until I arrived at a dish that I felt was delicious, mostly authentic and good enough to share with you. That being said, when watching the video keep in mind that my wok skills suck. Cooking in a wok is its own skill set and one I’m still working on. I actually slightly burned the chilies and yet it still tasted AMAZING!
So, watch the video and try the recipe and let me know what you think and how you liked it. If you’d like to see more Chinese Food recipes in the future let me know about that too!