It's funny, but I cooked in the restaurant for more than 18 years and we have been eating low carbohydrate high fat (LCHF) for more than a year, and still my wife brings me new recipes to try. Heck, I think she has looked at just about every LCHF / Keto blog but mine when she is looking for recipes. Many of the recipes she brings me claim they are “low carb”, but when I look at the nutritional information (if it's there) I am often disappointed. So I am left to go and modify these recipes to make them fit our unique nutritional needs.
This particular recipe started out as 'Kung Pao Chicken' from the keto blog 'Ruled-Me'. They actually do a pretty good job presenting a variety of low carbohydrate recipes, so go and check them out. Having said that, there were quite a few ingredients that were in the original recipe from their blog that we did not have, but have no fear, as a former professional chef, being able to make substitutions to form variations of specific dishes is something I was trained to do.
While I have quite a good stock of basic Asian ingredients in my pantry, I did not have and garlic chili paste, so it was time for a substitution. because my niece is from Korea, I have built quite a good stock pile of Korean spices and seasoning's. I mention this because while this recipe started out as 'Kung Pao Chicken' it morphed into a Korean spicy chicken stir fry version of this dish. In Korea, this dish would be similar to 'Dak Galbi' or spicy chicken stir fry. A traditional version of this dish would have quite a bit more red pepper paste (gochujang) and more red pepper powder (gochujang) but I have toned down this dish to make it more agreeable to my wife's particular tastes. So let's get on with making a spicy Korean style Kung Pao Chicken.
As mentioned, the original recipe for this dish came from the keto site Ruled Me, and you can find their recipe by clicking on the link at the end of this article. I have added a few vegetables and of course the sauce has been changed by the substitution of Korean red pepper paste as well as tomato sauce for the garlic chili sauce and the reduced sugar ketchup. While the changes may seem minor, they change the flavor profile of the dish entirely. This dish calls for 16 ounces (1lb) of de-boned chicken thighs so the number of thighs required varies between 4 to 6 thighs. The nutritional information however is for 16 ounces of thigh meat with the skin on.
4 chicken thighs (16 ounces), deboned, skin on
2 green onions
1 medium carrot, julienned
½ cup green bell pepper, large dice
½ cup onion, large dice
¼ cup peanuts, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar with the Mother
1 teaspoon Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)
1 teaspoon ginger paste
½ teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
½ teaspoon maple extract
3 drops liquid sucralose
Combine all the ingredients for your sauce in a small bowl and set aside for later use.
De-bone and cut up the chicken thighs into bite sized pieces and season with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat, then add the chicken and saute until the chicken has browned and is thoroughly cooked (this should take about 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size of the chicken pieces). Remove the chicken from the heat to a plate or bowl and begin to stir fry the vegetables.
Chef's Note: If you do not have any ginger paste, you can season the chicken thighs with powdered ginger or Chinese five spice powder, or you can simply omit this if you wish. If you like your food with a bit more bite, increase the red pepper paste (gochujang) to 2 teaspoons, and or season the chicken with some red pepper powder (flakes). Just note that increasing the amount of red pepper pastes or adding red pepper powder it will change the nutritional information of the dish.
If you left the skin on the thighs (which you should), then there should be plenty of good delicious fat in which to stir fry the vegetables (onions, bell peppers, and carrot). If you did not leave the skin on, or you decided to use chicken breast instead, then add a small amount of coconut oil and stir fry your veggies just until the onions begin to turn translucent. Then remove the cooked vegetables to the plate or bowl which contains the chicken.
Once all of your vegetables are cooked, examine your skillet or saute pan, remove all of the fat except for 1 teaspoon. Then return the chicken and the vegetables to the pan and add your sauce and the peanuts and stir everything together. Bring the dish to a slight boil and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the sauce is reduced slightly. Garnish with spring onions and serve.
Chef's Note: Sesame oil can be overpowering for some palates, and a little goes along way. The original sauce recipe called for 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, but we have found that we like a little less sesame oil in our sauce. If you like the smoky flavor of sesame oil, then remove all of the oil from the pan except ½ teaspoon and increase the sesame oil in the sauce to 1 teaspoon.
Calories – 1746, fat 110 grams, protein 156 grams, carbohydrates 22 grams
Per Serving (4 servings)
Calories – 436, fat 28 grams, protein 39 grams, carbohydrates 5.5 grams
Making Your Dish Go Farther
While we generally just make this dish as is, and eat it without noodles. If you want to increase the bulk of this recipe without adding a significant amount of carbohydrates or calories, then you can add ½ head of a small cabbage shredded to the dish when you cook the other vegetables. Adding cabbage does increase the bulk or amount of the dish giving you more servings, but it also increases the overall carbohydrate count.
Cabbage (½ Head)
Calories – 109, fat 0.5 grams, protein 6.5 grams, carbohydrates 15 grams
Total Recipe w/Cabbage
Calories – 1855, fat 111 grams, protein 162 grams, carbohydrates 37 grams
Per Serving w/Cabbage (6 servings)
Calories – 309, fat 18.5 grams, protein 27 grams, carbohydrates 6.1 grams
Per Serving w/Cabbage (8 servings)
Calories – 235, fat 13.8 grams, protein 20.25 grams, carbohydrates 4.6 grams
Many times a recipe starts out as one thing and slowly morphs it's way into something else, that's how creativity in the kitchen works. This particular recipe that my wife loves started out as another version of Kung Pao Chicken, and it became an amalgam or fusion of Chinese-American and Korean food. Or in simpler terms, a Chinese-American recipe made with Korean ingredients. I realize that many of you will not have some of these ingredients in your pantry, but if you have the opportunity to visit a local Asian market that carries a variety of ingredients from other countries, I encourage you to purchase and try Korean Red Pepper (gochujang) paste in some of your recipes.
Eating a LCHF / Keto diet never has to be boring. What you do need to know how to do is make simple substitutions that can change a recipe that is high in carbohydrates to one that is low in carbohydrates, and that is the goal of most of my articles. For Chinese-American foods, most often this is a matter of finding a substitute for the sugary sauces used in their preparation. This recipe is no different, omitting the sugar for liquid sucralose removes the majority of the carbohydrates in this dish. The only carbohydrates remaining come primarily from the vegetables (12 grams) and the peanuts (4.95 grams). The sauce for the whole recipes only contains 5.3 grams of carbohydrates (tomato sauce 1.5 grams, red pepper paste 3 grams, soy sauce 0.8 grams). Depending on the portion size this dish comes out to somewhere between 5 – 7 carbohydrates per serving. Remember we are eating low carb, not no carb!
Anyway, as always, I hope that you have found this information informative and useful. If so I ask that you share it with your friends and family as well as sharing it on other social media platforms. Don't forget to send us a friend request on Facebook at CulinaryyouLCHF, or add us to your circle of friends on Google+. You can also click on the 'Follow Us' button on this blog page so that you will be notified when the newest recipes become available.
Final Chef's Note: The original recipe that I started with called for an 2 tablespoons of chili garlic paste, but I substituted Korean red pepper paste (gochujang) If you do not have any Korean red pepper paste, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, or ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper for the Korean red pepper paste.
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