Kung Pao!


I’m quite surprised I haven’t blogged this meal yet.  it’s one of our personal favourites that we’ve served successfully several times for guests.  Always a hit.  It’s low carb, healthy, and is ready in less than half an hour.   Fun to eat too!   You eat it with your hands, so I guess you have to judge ahead if your guests are ones that would be comfortable with that.  I will often add a bowl of either black or wild grain rice for those that need a bit more filler and like to eat with a fork.. but Guillermo and I find that we don’t need it.

Here’s the KEY instruction I’ve learned the hard way… do ALL your prep before you turn on the stove and start cooking, including prepping your serving bowls, and setting the table.  It comes together THAT quick.

What you’ll need..

A fresh Head of Boston Lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried.  I love Boston Lettuce, and it’s buttery creamy flavour, it’s perfect shape, and sturdiness while also being malleable (bendy).  We tried once with leaf lettuce and another time with romaine, but they don’t work.  Romaine’s hard stem doesn’t work for folding up the wrap, and leaf lettuce is too flimsy, it will completely fall apart on you.  Boston lettuce is perfect.  Don’t bother trying another lettuce.. I’ve done that research for you… you can thank me later.  I like cash or e-transfers work too.  🙂 🙂

I wash the leaves in the sink, then lay them out in a single layer on a clean T towel, then put another towel on top, layer the remaining leaves, and wrap them up like a burrito… and set aside to dry while I’m prepping the rest of the ingredients.  Boston has to be washed.  I’ve never found one that didn’t have soil or sand in between it’s beautiful buttery leaves.  Face it.. all  your veggies need to be washed, unless you’re completely peeling them.

Here’s the rest of the ingredients:  (no tulips were harmed in this recipe)


For the fry pan:

1 tbsp Olive oil
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
2 cloves minced garlic
1 zucchini diced
1 (8 oz) can of water chestnuts (sliced/diced)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
S&P to taste

Prepped separately on a serving plate:
1 head Boston (or butter lettuce) as aforementioned.
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

SAUCE ingredients to whisk together & prep: (will also go in fry pan)

3 tbsps reduced sodium soy sauce**
2 tbsps dry Sherry
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (or more if you like it HOT like me!)  🙂
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsps rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp cornstarch mixed in a couple tbsps of water.

** from above… if you use Gluten Free Soy sauce.. then the whole meal should also be GF.. bonus points! 🙂

I cut up the zucchini, water chestnuts & onion on one cutting mat and mince my garlic in this super handy dandy garlic smasher thingie I got years ago from my sister’s store: Avant Garde Emporium, in Jordan Station, ON.   If you haven’t shopped there, you MUST.  She sells every kitchen gadget you need or didn’t know yet that you do.. to beautiful clothing in all sizes, unique gifts, home decor, jewellery, accessories, vintage kids toys, cards.. you name it! (this commercial is brought to you by.. Geri’s sister, Amy… )

Then I mix up the sauce, and put all my ingredient bottles away.  I like a clean kitchen when I’m cooking.  Once the table is set, the counter is cleaned off, and I have my serving bowls ready.. I get started with the oil in the pan and the garlic… it’s my favourite part.. watching and SMELLING the garlic sizzle in the EVOO.  It gets all my senses going, and I know something really good is about to happen… and I get excited.


Next in stages, the ground meat, once it’s cooked, add the zucchini, give it a bit to soften (not too much, there’s still about 5 min of cooking time to come), then the sauce mix…

when it starts to bubble up, add the corn starch & water (whisked together first) to thicken the sauce.  Once it’s started to thicken, I add the water chestnuts, and finally the green onion.  Then pour this all in a bowl, and put the lettuce on a plate with a small bowl of (optional) peanuts.

Caveat… when setting the table, leave several extra napkins… it’s a bit messy and fun, and you’ll need them! You’ll notice the jar of chili garlic sauce on the table.. i don’t add extra in the recipe, cause Bill doesn’t like it as hot as I do.. so I add my extra at the table.  this recipe is likely enough for at least 4 people… we usually have enough for 2 meals, and if you add rice.. then enough for 6 or more.   I’ve doubled it when we had a larger group, and had a serving platter with the leaves around the outside, and the bowl of meat/veg mix in the centre.. it was a really nice presentation.  Have fun with it.  Impress your guests.. they’ll think you slaved for a long time, the flavour is so fantastic!

Bon Appetit!!!





Published by billandamyskitchen

Bill (Guillermo 'cause he likes pretending he knows Spanish) and I (Amy) have been married since Sept 2005. We live in Southern Ontario, Canada - Niagara Peninsula in fact, smack dab between 2 of the Great Lakes. We love God, our family, our church family, and making each other laugh. (ergo the profile pic, he decided to make our photographer laugh by throwing a leg up on me just before the shutter clicked, which made ME laugh) When we married, I told Bill: "I don't know how to cook" but he had faith in me. So 15 years later, I'm still learning, and having fun. I've never (in my whole life) cooked a whole bird, chicken, turkey or otherwise. I've never roasted a beef, other than in a crockpot on low for 8 hrs. I like trying to find healthy & easy recipes and then I rarely follow them. I don't enjoy recipes that take hours or intricate steps. I have a special fondness for the Podleski sisters, writers/creators of the Looney Spoons, Crazy Plates and Yum/Yummer cookbooks. In 2018 we suddenly decided to rip our small house apart from stem to stern, moving out for 4.5 months while the house was demolished inside and out, and then rebuilt with an addition. If you go back in the archives to July-Dec 2018 you can follow that story. It's made our house open and so much more conducive to entertaining, small groups and large. It's given us the kitchen I've dreamed of to create and learn in. We feel incredibly blessed to be able to write about our journey, our faith in God and some fun recipes along the way. Thanks for joining us.

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