How To Cook Charlie Chan-Style Sauce + How To Use It
You can use this spicy-sweet sauce in other ways, too!
You know this sauce as the sweet, spicy sauce that coats the spaghetti¬†from your favorite pizza place. It's called the Charlie Chan Pasta. It's not only tossed in a sweet and spicy sauce but it's got chunks of chicken, dried chilis, roasted peanuts, and slivers of¬†shiitake mushrooms.
But did you know that there is no "Charlie Chan"? You might be surprised that despite the name, there is no "Charlie Chan". The name is based on a police detective from a series of popular mystery¬†novels in the early 1900s.
The sauce that this is based on however has been around for far longer than its first appearance on this pizza delivery menu. It is¬†a sauce is called¬†kung pao.¬†
What is kung pao?¬†
The kung pao is allegedly the favorite¬†dish of a 19th-century Chinese official named Ding Baozhen. He was allegedly a foodie and his favorite dish was a stir-fried chicken dish. It consisted of chicken marinated in Shaoxing wine, a starch, salt, and egg whites. This was fried¬†until crisp before being¬†tossed in a sauce with peanuts and¬†spicy Sichuan peppercorns. It¬†was allegedly also served to officials who visited Baozhen,¬†including a certain General Zuo Zongtang, more popularly known as General Tso.¬†
The popularity of the dish however¬†has caused it to be tweaked over the¬†years, leading to the version that we¬†now know.¬†
How to Make Kung Pao Sauce aka Charlie Chan Pasta Sauce
The sauce can¬†be is easy to make and store. You can¬†make the sauce and toss it with¬†cooked chicken when ready to serve. You can even use this spicy, sweet sauce in other ways, too! Here are the ingredients you'll need:¬†
Charlie Chan Pasta Sauce Recipe¬†
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine
- 3 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons red vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
Here's how to make it:
- In a saucepan, whisk together chicken stock, cornstarch, soy sauce, rice wine, chili garlic sauce, sugar, red vinegar, and sesame oil. Whisk until sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until the sauce thickens. Set aside.¬†
Feel free to tweak this recipe to your desired taste and use it to season not just chicken but shrimp, stir-fried pork, beef strips, vegetables, and tofu. Try it¬†using any¬†of these recipes:
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