We have a local chinese restaraunt that is the most fantastic place. It has been around in our community since my mother was a little girl. Four generations of my family have eaten at this lovely little place. It is not fancy, but the owners know the customers and often visit while you wait for your food. There have been several families come in to run this business in our community.
When my husband and I started dating many years ago, this was one our favorite restaurants. We watched the children of the owners grow up in the restaurant. In fact, a few years ago the owners announced they would be leaving our community to join their youngest child at college so they could still live as a family.
The last few times we went there I lamented how much I was going to miss them and their food. I finally asked once what was in my favorite dish, Kung Pao Chicken. The owner laughed and rattled off all the ingredients so fast I could hardly understand. The next time, I went in with a pen and paper! She never had measurements and her instructions were always so fast. I wished I could just go in and watch them for a day!
Each time we went in, I asked for another recipe. Then I would go home and experiment with it. When we went back again, I ask her how I need to change it to get the flavor right. I went home and played with the ingredients and measurements for the Kung Pao Chicken. This is pretty darn close to the Eastern Garden.
My family has missed The Eastern Garden. Every time I make this recipe, I think of the owners and how much they were a part of our community and our hearts.
Kung Pao Chicken
5 stalks celery
2 small zucchini
½ cup peanuts (or 1 tsp peanut butter)
2 chicken breast halves
3 cloves minced garlic
½ chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
½ tablespoon red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicier)
3 tablespoons Soy sauce
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
1 cup water
2 cups cooked rice
Mince and chop onion and garlic. Cut remaining vegetables into bite size pieces.
Cut chicken into small bite size pieces.
Fry chicken pieces in large frying pan with butter, garlic, and onion until chicken is cooked through.
Stir in red pepper flakes, peanuts, carrots, and celery. Cook this, stirring occasionally, for approximately 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the zuchini is softened a bit.
Stir together soy sauce, cold water, and cornstarch for sauce. Add into hot mixture and stir until sauce thickens.
Serve over cooked rice.
This makes enough for my family of 6 plus extra.