I've actually never had Kung Pao Chicken deep fried like that, not where I live now or any place else I've lived - General Tso or Sesame Chicken, yes. Kung Pao, no. It always seemed like a healthier alternative. I've also started making my own Chinese restaurant favorites. Without all the frying (and I cut down on sugar), it's very reasonable.
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This nutritional information was on a recipe for Kung Pao on Allrecipes.com. Nutritional Information Amount Per Serving Calories: 437 | Total Fat: 23.3g | Cholesterol: 66mg Powered by ESHA Nutrient Database
I discovered while researching this question that authentic Kung Pao is stir fried and the westernized version is deep fried. That is probably your difference.
My office sometimes orders lunch from a Chinese restaurant that will happily stir fry your lunch with no oil. There's a huge difference in the taste, texture, and appearance of the no oil dishes. It's not unpleasant, but it is different.
I've done the calculations and even using a lot of oil and a lot of peanuts the calories and fat grams are way under what they show on the websites. It seems like the only way for the dish to live up to that quantity of fat would be for it to be deep fried. Around here, we get sliced chicken, zucchini, carrots, onions, peppers, and peanuts in a spicy sauce. I would expect the calories and fat to be around what string bean chicken is, but it's closer to things like sesame chicken.
I'm just wondering if anyone has ever been served kung pao chicken that's breaded and deep fried, because I've never seen it served that way.
Fitness Minutes: (19,921)
2/10/11 1:13 P
Chinese food is generally cooked in a lot of oil (that's why it's stir-FRY, haha).
If it's breaded chicken, then it is fried.
Most of the sauces that Chinese food uses are high in sugar (general gao/tso, orange, etc.) and/or sodium (soy, teriyaki, etc.).
But there are healthier options out there! One of my favorite series of articles on SP is "Dining Strategies for Specific Cuisines":
Fitness Minutes: (44)
1,197 2/10/11 1:01 P
Most chinese food is made with a ton of oil. surprising, cause wok cooking can be some of the most efficient cooking.
Kung pao is probably really healthy if you are making it at home, but to keep it from burning, restaurants add ladles of oil to the food they cook.
What I would do, to get an idea is make a "food grouping" of what you think is in it, without the peanuts, and add 2 tablespoons oil, and see where it stands. Taht's probably close to the amount of oil you'll get in most servings.
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2/10/11 12:42 P
I would think that any restaurant food is bad mostly because you don't know what all the ingredients in it are, esp. the sauces. Most likely high-fructose- corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. Almost all chinese restaurants use white rice rather than brown rice. Nuts are healthy for the most part, but only raw, cooking or roasting changes the fat. Restaurants need to make a profit. They will not use the highest quality, organic ingredients unless you are willing to pay a huge price. Often they use the lowest quality ingredients that still taste good because that is what sells. This means lots of artificial flavors and addictive ingredients.
I'm wondering if I'm missing something. It's on everyone's list as the top chinese food that you SHOULDN'T eat. Around here, it's full of veggies, the chicken is stir fried as opposed to deep fried, and it's easy to pick out the peanuts if you're so inclined. Do they deep fry the chicken around the rest of the country? The calories they give versus the calories when you break down the ingredients just don't add up.
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