Sometimes recipes don’t always come out how you think. I planned on making this in the slow cooker, but with all the prep work you might as well just make it right then and there. The recipe came out really good and it’ll be added into my rotation of Asian foods we make. I did double the sauce since we serve it over rice I like to have the extra sauce soaked up.
Skinny Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken
(Adapted from the recipe critic)
⅓ cup cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pieces), cut into bite-sized chunks
1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
**4 – 6 dried red chili peppers (to taste) found in Asian supermarkets or the International section of a large chain grocery store – see NOTE
⅔ cup roasted cashews (or roasted peanuts)
1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 medium zucchini, chopped into halves
Sauce (Feel free to double the sauce if you like more sauce)
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
½ cup water
3 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
¼ – ½ teaspoon dried red pepper chili flakes
2 Tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
2-3 Tablespoons water (plus more as needed to thin out consistency of sauce)
In a large zip-top bag, toss in chicken, cornstarch, salt and black pepper. Shake until well-coated.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken about 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Transfer chicken into slow cooker. (SEE NOTE FOR STOVETOP DIRECTIONS)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, water, honey, hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger and red pepper chili flakes and pour over chicken.
Cover and cook on LOW for 2.5 – 4 hours or HIGH for 1.5 – 3 hours. (SEE NOTE)
About 30 minutes before serving, whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir into the slow cooker. Add the dried red chili peppers, red bell peppers, zucchini and cashews.
Cover and cook on HIGH for another 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened up. (Add more water to thin out sauce to your preferred consistency).
Sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onions and serve over rice, quinoa or zoodles, if desired.
**If you can’t find dried red chili peppers, leave out and add an additional ½ – 1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
**If your slow cooker runs hot, be sure to check on chicken earlier as it may cook faster than the suggested cooking times.
**FOR STOVETOP DIRECTIONS: Brown the chicken until cooked through (7-8 minutes). Then add vegetables and saute for about 3 minutes – or until tender. Add the sauce to the pan, turn to high heat and cook until the sauce bubbles and thickens up – about 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Once everything is coated and heated through, serve hot with favorite sides.