Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mei Mei Street Kitchen's amazing kung pow chicken dip

A few years ago at a popup dinner a few of us had Mei Mei's amazing kung pow chicken dip. It managed to capture the appropriate flavors while hardening your arteries on contact. After some harassment kind requests they posted it up on their blog, but that didn't last through a website redesign. A lovely friend of mine managed to save it, and voila here it is.

I think there's some sort of secret sauce (perhaps simply their amazing personalities!) that's missing here as it's never quite as good, granted I pestered them because they said great cooks would never be afraid to give out recipes as it's the cook and not the recipe - I'll be the first to admit that I'm a fraction the cook that those guys are! Either way, there's a lot of room for personal exploration here, I never make it quite the same any time I make it.

Personally a few modifications I tend to make:

  • I use 16oz of cream cheese and often 16oz of cheese
  • I trim the large fat chunks off of the thighs (which is what I use) and render that down as the base fat
Without further ado, here it is:

Writing Down Recipes Only Works If You Don't Throw Them Out: An approximation of our kung pao chicken dip recipe

November 27, 2012 by Irene
Someone asked if we would share how we made the kung pao chicken dip, a spicy, cheesy Mei Mei creation that debuted at our Staff-Meal-Gallows-pop-up . We love sharing recipes. We said we'd try. So here we are! The short answer is that you make kung pao chicken with the freshest and most delightful ingredients you can find, then mix it up with some really delicious cheese, and bake it in the oven. Pretty ridiculously simple. That's the formula we follow for a lot of our food, actually. The long answer is as follows:

*Thanks to Nicole for writing a killer blog post and taking some gorgeous photos, including that one.*
*Kung Pao Chicken Dip makes enough for four people as a snack/starter, or for Irene for lunch.*

  • 1 pound of chicken (preferably dark meat), diced, marinating for maybe 30 minutes in a glug of soy sauce, two or so glugs of Chinese cooking wine, and 2 teaspoons of corn starch
  • Neutral cooking oil (peanut, canola, grape seed)
  • 10 dried red Chinese chilies OR 2-3 or more fresh jalapenos, minced
  • 3 stalks of scallions, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS or so grated ginger
  • Kung pao sauce, comprised all this stuff whisked together:
    • 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar, or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
  • 8oz cream cheese (I think we used 16oz actually and I'm not sorry)
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, grated
  • Peanuts and whatever other garnishy stuff you're into.

  1. Heat a wok or cast iron skillet on high until it seems really ripping hot. Add a few tablespoons of your cooking oil of choice, and then the chilies. Stir-fry for about a minute, until your kitchen smells really good and you're maybe crying a little bit. A little smoke is good.
  2. Add the ginger, garlic, and scallions. Stir-fry some more.
  3. Add the chicken and fry for another two minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
  4. Pour in the sauce. Kill the heat. Taste it. Needs more salt? More heat? More sugar? Add it now.
  5. Fold in the cream cheese and cheddar. Feel your inner Paula Deen grow strong.
  6. If you haven't already started eating it with a spoon, you can transfer it to a ramekin or baking dish and bake for 20 minutes at 375F.
  7. Top it with more cheese and garnish with candied nuts, more scallions, or more fresh chilies.
  8. Serve with crusty bread, chicken skin chips, or whatever else seems delicious.

You may already know that we're not super focused on measurements, or using exactly the ingredients called for, so have some fun and let us know how everything turns out!

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