For a crunchy, vegetarian kick of spicy kung pao flavor, try it with lotus root.
For the veggies:
1 large lotus root (fresh or packed in water), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1/4 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely diced
5 to 10 dried red chiles, cut in 1/4-inch pieces
2 scallions, whites and greens separated and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
10 to 15 whole Szechuan peppercorns
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 cup peanuts, toasted
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
Cornstarch slurry (2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 4 teaspoons water)
Preheat a large skillet or wok with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add lotus root and brown for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove root. Add both bell peppers, ginger, chiles, scallion whites and peppercorns. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add all sauce ingredients. Slowly whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Add peanuts and lotus root back to the pan. Cook until sauce has thickened and lotus root is nicely coated. Serve with steamed rice. Enjoy!
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