Monday, November 2, 2009

Kung POW! Chicken

I'm so proud of this Kung POW! Chicken Recipe. My inspiration comes from Hungry Girl, a wonderful web site full of tips and tricks for eating healthier. Thanks Dana for reminding me how great the Hungry Girl site is!

Kung Pao Chicken isn't battered, deep-fried, or loaded with noodles like some other Chinese dishes. So why does it have super-high calories and fat? Thanks to a thick sugary sauce and a fair share of fatty peanuts, Kung Pao Chicken can be a calorie-counter's nightmare. Sure those peanuts may pack in healthy fats, but those so-called "good fats" lose all their cred when they're drowned in tons of oily sauce and presented in scary portion sizes, making one individual dinner portion of restaurant Kung Pao Chicken 500 calories...and that is without the rice or other sides.

This recipe swap makes a saucy, spicy, wonderful dish that has a tiny fraction of the calories and fat of restaurant versions. See below for proof -- and feel free to experiment using all sorts of other veggies (green beans, bean sprouts) and lean protein (shrimp, lean steak, tofu, and even lean pork tenderloin.) OK, enough yapping, check it out...

This recipe makes two generous servings that are approximately 250 calories each. To make the sauce, mix two tablespoons of water with two tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, a packet of splenda or I used truvia, another natural sweeter, 1/2 tablespoon corn starch and as much spicy chili sauce as you can stand. I added about 1/2 tablespoon. I also added a teaspoon of minced garlic. Mix well, set aside.

If you have a wok, use it. I used a skillet and over medium heat I added a half tablespoon of peanut oil and a half tablespoon of sesame oil. Both of these are super fragrant and flavorful, perfect for asian cooking. If you wanted to lighten this up, simply spray your wok or skillet with non-stick spray.

The protein. I took a skinless, boneless chicken breast and marinaded it in the fridge along with some soy sauce, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes for heat.

I diced into bite size pieces and added to my hot skillet.

Now for the veggies. I julienned about half a green bell pepper and added to the skillet.

I added more carrots than this, about six total, sliced thin. And I sliced three green onions as well.

Add it all to the skillet and toss to combine.

Love these green onions! And I held some back to garnish with at the end.

Peanuts. I know you are laughing...this is all I had in the house. Peanuts from Southwest Airlines, ha! I added one and a half little bags to the skillet, reserving half a bag for garnish.

I love this convenient bag of broccoli that you put in the microwave and steam right in the bag. Easy!!

I added a good handful to my skillet.
Now turn the heat up to high, give your sauce a stir and pour into the skillet. Stir to coat all the veggies with the sauce until it thickens, this happens fast, within 30 seconds.
Now to beef up this meal, I added these Shirataki Noodles. Yes, they are tofu...don't tell Jim. I'm trying to sneak them in. You can find these in the dairy section of stores like Whole Foods.

The trick to these noodles, which can be found in many sizes like spaghetti and fettuccine, is to rinse them very well and pat them very very dry...and you could do this more than once.

They are like little sponges and soak up all the flavor of our sauce. The noodles add BULK and HEFT without adding calories - hold on to your skirt, these only have 20 calories per serving, which means if you eat the entire bag of noodles, it's only 40 CALORIES. You will see me try more recipes with these. 3 carbs per serving, no cholesterol, no sugar, glueten-free, dairy-free, guilt-free.

I really loved this recipe. The chili sauce made my lips burn, the bell pepper still had some crunch as well as the peanuts I added. I just really like broccoli and it was perfect in this recipe. I was completely full and satisfied after eating one portion. You guys better get used to me cooking this way (Jim included) because I have a little white dress to squeeze into in about eight months. I'm going to prove (to myself) that cooking light is still fun. I'm adding a brand NEW tag to my posts, it's "healthy." Now you can pull up my healthy recipes by clicking that word on the sidebar of


  1. Mmmm, I love Kung Pao chicken! Looks yummy!

  2. I'm with ya...I need some healthy recipes after allof the Halloween candy I've been downing lately!

    Love the Southwest peanuts! When I was a flight attendant (not Southwest) sometimes a few bags would fall into my apron pockets for a layover dinner. ;)

  3. I have got to get my hands on those noodles!! This recipe looks fantastic, and totally something I would enjoy, especially loving the low cal and low carb from the noodles! Thank you for sharing!

  4. I am going to have to get some of those noodles! can't wait to try this recipe!

  5. I love Kung Pao Chicken, but have never made it at home. Will have to try this recipe, but with whole wheat pasta. I tried Tofu Shirataki, but it just didn't work for me :(


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