Try Kung Pao Chicken for Chinese New Year

Flavored with red chilies, Kung Pao Chicken has lots of punch. / Marice Cohn Band/Miami Herald/MCT

Here is a quick and easy Chinese-inspired dinner for Chinese New Year, which starts Sunday. Spicy, flavorful Kung Pao Chicken is a popular Chinese dish. It's topped with a sauce of garlic, ginger, red chili peppers and soy sauce.

Small red chili peppers have different names and origins. A common name is bird pepper. They are very hot. Dried ones can be found in many supermarkets.

HELPFUL HINTS

› You can use 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper instead of bird peppers.

› You can use white vinegar diluted with an equal amount of water instead of rice wine vinegar.

SHOPPING LIST

› To buy: 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, 1 bottle low-sodium soy sauce, 1 bottle rice wine vinegar, 1 bottle hoisin sauce, 1 bottle sesame oil, 1 package small dried bird or red chili peppers, 1 small piece fresh ginger, 1 package broccoli florets, 1 bunch scallions, 1 package Chinese egg noodles, 1 container dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts

› Staples: minced garlic, salt, black peppercorns


Kung Pao Chicken

3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breast

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

3 to 4 small, dried bird or red chili peppers, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)

3 teaspoons minced garlic

2 slices fresh ginger, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1/2 pound broccoli florets

2 scallions, sliced

2 tablespoons dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts

Cut chicken into thin slices (about 1/4-inch thick). Mix soy sauce, vinegar, chilies, and garlic together. Place ginger slices in garlic press and squeeze juice into sauce. Add the chicken and let stand, tossing in sauce once or twice, while preparing remaining ingredients.

Remove chicken from marinade. Mix hoisin sauce and water into marinade juices. Set aside. Heat oil in a wok or skillet over high heat, until smoking. Add the chicken and stir-fry 3 minutes. Remove and add the marinade and broccoli to the wok. Stir-fry over high heat 4 to 5 minutes or until broccoli is cooked. Remove the wok from the heat and add the scallions and chicken. Toss well. Spoon over noodles and sprinkle peanuts on top. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 381 calories, 14.8 grams fat, 2.5 grams saturated fat, 5.4 grams monounsaturated fat, 126 milligrams cholesterol, 46 grams protein, 18.1 grams carbohydrates, 2.5 grams dietary fiber, 3.4 grams sugars, 501 milligrams sodium, 1,184 milligrams potassium, 512 milligrams phosphorus.

Exchanges: 3 vegetable, 5 1/2 lean protein, 1 1/2 fat.

-- Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer


Chinese Noodles

1/4 pound Chinese egg noodles

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles. Boil 1 minute. Drain and place back in saucepan. Add oil and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chicken.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 239 calories, 4.8 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 1.6 grams monounsaturated fat, 48 milligrams cholesterol, 8.1 grams protein, 40.6 grams carbohydrates, 1.9 grams dietary fiber, 1.1 grams sugars, 12 milligrams sodium, 139 milligrams potassium, 137 milligrams phosphorus.

Exchanges: 2 1/2 starch, 1 fat.

-- Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

From "Quick & Easy Chicken" by Linda Gassenheimer, published by the American Diabetes Association. Reprinted with permission from the American Diabetes Association. Gassenheimer's latest book is "The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook," published by the American Diabetes Association. To order either book: 1-800-232-6733, shopdiabetes.org.