Can you believe I survived the winter weather last week?! OK, I’m being facetious. After having some sort of warm, soup like meal every night, my Husband was craving something completely different. I decided to break out one of my favorite dishes that surprises my skeptical friends: Sweet and Spicy Kung Pao Chicken.They look at the ingredient list and ask, “Are you SURE those spices go well with that fruit?!” After a sigh or two, I ask for their trust. I’ve made a version of this with the kids I teach at a local YMCA. They too, look at the ingredients shaking their heads. Despite the looks, we make the dish.
As one teen exclaimed, “This should be on the menu at Panda Express!” A compliment like that from a teen is a big deal!
What I love about this dish is that it infuses flavors from traditional Chinese and Mexican cuisine. The garlic, ginger, and chili flavors create a spicy kung pao sauce derived from the Chinese cuisine. Then, the dish is topped with a fruity pico de gallo. Pico de gallo is a salsa salad that usually includes tomato, peppers, and onion. For this recipe though, we are adding pineapple, mandarin oranges, and cilantro to create some extra sweetness. Serve this atop brown or steamed white rice. Together, the sauce and salsa not only look beautiful on a plate, but create a powerful explosion of sweet and spice in your mouth that is irresistible!
The same teen I mentioned earlier took the recipe home and said he was going to make it for his family. Hearing that made my day! Keep these recipes and try them. Let me know what works for you and what doesn’t. As always, let me know if there is a recipe that you would like to learn, or that has always given you problems. I have those recipes too! I will save those for another post. 😉
Do YOU have any dishes that confound people? I’d love to hear and try your recipes as well!