Kung Pao or Gong Bao is usually a Chinese chicken dish and a favorite takeout around here. This version of kung pao brussels sprouts is made with roasted Brussel sprouts which adds a healthy-ish twist.
I can’t believe it’s already two years ago since I moved to Atlanta and it makes me happy that it feels like home to me by now. One of the first things I learned in my new hometown: Southerners are big in eating and enjoying good food. Restaurants are on every corner, new ones seem to pop up every week and recommendations where and what to eat, are given by everyone at every occasion. At the beginning, I lost track and I started writing all this down. Yes, it’s that overwhelming and almost insane. If someone comes to Atlanta and reports he hadn’t had good food, he did it wrong.
One of the restaurants on top of my list is Gunshow on the east side of Atlanta owned by Kevin Gillespie. I never saw Mr. Gillespie on TV but you might have seen him on Top Chef? I have to say I am intrigued by the restaurant concept, serving dishes dim sum style, imagine the food drives by your table and you can choose what looks good to you. Instead of picking from a menu and ordering a pig in a poke. Also, the weekly changing dishes sound exciting and Southern food with an international twist… yes. please. And here comes the downside, I share this opinion with most of my fellow Atlantans. You must be very lucky to get a table and forget about next weekend or the weekend after and later and… This is why Gunshow still remains on top of my have-to-try-list. So you can imagine my excitement seeing a recipe for kung pao brussels sprouts in one of the latest issues of Bon Appétit. How about bringing some Gunshow food home?
kung pao brussels sprouts
In fact, I would have tried this recipe anyway, roasted Brussels sprouts in a spicy glaze sounds too good to miss. Kung Pao is a little sweet and a little tangy but hot as hell. My version is pleasantly spicy, much milder than usual, but go easy on the peppers if you are sensitive to spicy food. This recipe makes a side dish for four but then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll eat them all by myself.
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (I used peanut oil)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 -2 garlic clove, minced
- 2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and minced
- ½ teaspoon Sriracha sauce (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamarind sauce (if GF needed)
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 3 dried chili peppers, lightly crushed (see notes)
- 60 ml / ¼ cup water
- a small handful peanuts, roasted, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss Brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper and roast, stirring once or twice. They should be deep golden brown, crisp outside and tender inside, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside.
- Make a cornstarch slurry by dissolving the starch in 1-2 tsp. cold water. Set aside.
- In a medium sized pan over medium-high heat, add the remaining tablespoon of oil garlic and ginger and cook until the garlic is fragrant and soft, 1-2 minutes. Do not let it brown.
- Add Sriracha sauce, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, chili peppers and 60 ml / ¼ cup water, and bring to a boil.
- Add cornstarch slurry and simmer until thickened and any starchy taste has been cooked away.
- Toss Brussels sprouts in the pan and serve sprinkled with peanuts.
Add more Sriracha sauce if you like, but stop before your hair catches fire. If you have sambal oelek use this.
I also used honey roasted peanuts (because I used all of the plain peanuts for pad thai the other day) and I actually liked the extra sweetness very much.