Kung Pao Scallops
- 3/4 pound sea scallops
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons cornstarh
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch freshly-ground white pepper
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or Chinese rice vinegar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 5 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 small red or green bell pepper seeded
- 1 small onion
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 can whole bamboo shoots - (15 oz)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 6 whole dried chile peppers
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in
- 1 tablespoon water
Cot the scallops in half horizontally. Combine them with the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to coat. Set aside for 30 minutes. Combine the sauce ingredients in another bowl.
Cut the bell pepper and onion into 1-inch squares. Cut the celery diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Cut the bamboo shoots into 1-inch cubes. Place a wok or wide frying pan over high heat until hot. Add 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, swirling to coat the sides. Add the scallops and stir-fry until opaque, about 2 minutes. Remove the scallops to a bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok. Add the ginger, garlic, whole red peppers, and crushed red pepper. Slightly pressing the peppers into the oil with the back of a spatula, cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the bell pepper, onion, celery, and bamboo shoots and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Tipping the bowl of scallops slightly, pour the accumulated juices into the wok and add the sauce. Cover and cook for 1 minute. Return the scallops to the wok. Add the cornstarch solution and cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens.
This recipe yields 4 servings.
Variation: You can cook just about any meat, poultry, or seafood 'kung pao' style. The sauce can also be made ahead of time; simply omit the scallops and the diced vegetables from the above recipe. Keep the sauce on hand in a jar in the refrigerator, and when you're to use it, stir-fry your choice of meat and vegetables and stir in the sauce.