This spicy, stir-fried Chinese chicken dish enjoys a strong fan-base across the world; so much so that it has become a cultural icon for Chinese takeaway food. The Chinese people refer it as gong bao ji ding, where as rest of the world goes with the modernized name.
Unlike rest of the regional cuisine, fresh chicken cooked in this Chinese recipe is not soaked in sauces. Boneless chicken cooked finely with three types of capsicum is what makes Kung Pao distinct.
The Kochi Mirch restaurant on the Kaloor-Palarivattom road near the international stadium is one place where Kolkata-based chef Chand dishes out Chinese cuisine with subtly different flavours, with Kung Pao chicken being one of the star dishes. Here, the dish is tweaked in a way that it will taste more like a Kerala dish than like one from beyond the borders.
Here, Kung Pao is not done the usual way where Chicken is deboned, boiled and then mixed with sauces and other ingredients. Instead, the meat gets slowly done along with its ingredients. Prior to this, chopped green, yellow and red capsicum are sauteed in a pan. Onions, garlic, thinly cut green chillies and peanuts are added to this and sauteed again. It is then we add chicken and sauces. Chicken is cooked in oyster, soya and red chilly sauces, along with a bit of sugar, white pepper powder and salt. Once the chicken is cooked, the meat and the gravy are mixed well and poured with honey. To give the ultimate South Indian twist, it is garnished with fried red chillies and peanuts.
Chicken Thai Patakha is another traditional dish which has also got a chef Chand makeover. A mix of garlic, onions, green chillies, capsicum and tulsi is sauteed and mixed with various sauces, salt, pepper and chicken stock. When the gravy thickens, the chicken pieces fried in Chinese flour are added in. The dish is eaten with green tulsi leaves.