After making ceviche with the neck meat of my hard-won geoduck, I was left with a big hunk o' body meat. What to do? Stir-fry seemed like the right approach. Earlier this year I made Kung Pao Chicken for the first time and discovered that Chinese cookery was not magic.
Here's a little secret: Anyone can cook Kung Pao at home, no problem. Just stock up on a few key items at your local Asian market, such as Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing), rice vinegar, and dried red chilies. Other ingredients—soy sauce, sesame oil, corn starch—you probably have already. Though not traditional, I added wild chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms (Laetiporus conifericola), which are all over the Cascade forests right now, and snap peas.
Kung Pao Geoduck with Wild Mushrooms
1/2 lb geoduck, thinly sliced
1/2 lb chicken of the woods (or shitake)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing)
2 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 2 tbsp water
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
2 handfuls cocktail peanuts
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb ginger, cut into slivers
8-10 dried chile peppers, halved and de-seeded
2 handfuls snap peas
2-3 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp peanut oil
1. For the marinade, combine into a bowl 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine, and 1 tbsp of the corn starch/water mixture. Immerse sliced geoduck and refrigerate 30 minutes.
2. For the sauce, combine into small bowl 1 tbsp soy sauce (note: use dark soy, if you have it), 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine, 1 tsp rice vinegar, 2 tsp brown sugar, and 1 tbsp corn starch/water mixture. Stir in garlic, ginger, peanuts, and half the green onion.
3. Heat peanut oil in wok or large skillet on high until nearly smoking. Stir in dried chilies and cook until fragrant, less than a minute. Add mushrooms and cook another minute or two. Add geoduck with marinade and cook a couple minutes, stirring. Add snap peas and sauce and cook another couple minutes, all the while stirring.
4. Ladle over rice and garnish with remaining green onion. Now say a prayer for your local take-out joint, which might have less of your business in the future.