Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Black Pepper Chicken - Panda Express Recipe

This is the kind of cheap$kate recipe I excel at. All the ingredients are affordable for any budget. I ripped off this stir-fry recipe from Panda Express and undercut them in price, too. For the price of one order, you get about 2 to 4 servings from my recipe (depending on how cheap chicken is in your neck of the woods.)

Just to let you know, I like Panda Express and am grateful they have tasty stir-fries at a reasonable price. Not everyone has one in their town or city, so this tasty recipe is especially for you.

My Black Pepper Chicken recipe is made with cheap dark chicken meat and the veggies are priced the lowest in any grocery produce section.

I use half a bunch of celery, and I can get a whole bunch of crunchy celery for a dollar or less.

And onions are so cheap that I used the most expensive type, red onion, which costs way less than a dollar per pound at my local Latin grocery store. It's okay to substitute with budget yellow or white onion.

Click on any photo to see larger.

I also use coarse ground black pepper that I get from my local 99c only Store and Dollar Tree. They also sell whole peppercorns, that can be crushed, so you get bites loaded with spicy pepper. Of course, you can use regular ground pepper. Use as much or as little as you can handle.

The stir-fry ingredients amounts can be adjusted. Do you like a lot of crunchy veggies? Then add an extra stalk or two of celery. I always have extra celery in the bottom of my refrigerator, so this recipe is perfect for using it all up. And notice how I slice the celery at a diagonal, so the pieces are larger.

This recipe makes three to four servings. If you want more protein then add another chicken thigh or leg. This recipe is so cheap that you can use breast meat.

I was feeling lazy, so I purchased boneless and skinless leg quarters at my local Latin market. for 88 cents per pound (I've noticed you have to sometimes remove a small white hard cartilage piece in the middle of a mechanically separated leg quarter meat.)

With a little bit of work, you can remove the chicken skin and bone. Breast meat is the easiest to fillet. You can also just saute leg and/or thigh meat and remove the bone after it's cooked, while you saute the veggies.

I like stir-fry recipes because they are quick and easy to do. Most use soy sauce and a little garlic. I like to add a teaspoon of sugar to cut the saltiness of soy sauce. If you have some ginger and vinegar then use that too, but you can leave them out for this recipe.

Try out my latest cheap$kate recipe, Black Pepper Chicken, and make enough to bring to lunch, instead of blowing your hard-earned dollars at Panda Express.

Black Pepper Chicken - Video

Play it here. video runs 3 minutes, 49 seconds.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.

Ingredients (3-4 servings)
  • 3-4 pieces of chicken - about a pound of skinless and boneless. 3 to 4 dark meat pieces or a whole chicken breast. You can remove bone and skin from chicken before or after cooking it.
  • 4 stalks of celery - sliced. About 2 cups. Okay to add more if you like.
  • 1 whole onion - sliced. I used red, but you can use any cheaper white or yellow onion.
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic - fresh or from the jar.
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger - optional. Dried, fresh or from the jar. Okay to use a teaspoon of powdered ginger.
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce - I used lite or low sodium. No salt is necessary for the recipe as I find soy sauce has plenty, but you can add some if you like.
  • 2 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper - Okay to add more or less, to suit your taste. Course ground pepper is best, but you can use regular ground black pepper.
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch - optional. This will give you a thick sauce.
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar - any type, optional. I used apple cider vinegar.
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar - optional. Okay to use your favorite sweetener.
  • 1 tablespoon oil - for frying chicken. Add more depending on how much chicken is used.

Remove skin and bone from chicken. I got boneless and skinless dark meat at my local Latin market for less than a dollar per pound. You can cook dark meat with the bone in, then remove chicken meat while you saute veggies. White meat is easiest to remove from bone.

Coat chicken with cornstarch, optional. Cornstarch will make a thick gravy.

In a large frying pan or a wok, add 2 tablespoons of oil to a medium/hot pan. Add chicken and cook until done, about 3-5 minutes if the chicken is cubed. For whole chicken pieces, it will take longer, about 7-10 minutes. Chicken is done when there is no pink color in the thickest part of the chicken.

While chicken cooks you can slice the celery and onion. Slice celery at a diagonal so you get longer and larger celery chunks. Discard a 1/4 inch of tough white celery end at the root.

Slice one onion. I like larger pieces for the onion, too. You can chop it smaller if you like.

Dark meat has a lot of moisture so you will get a flavorful gravy. For white meat, you may need to add a 1/4 cup of water for some gravy.

After the chicken is done add the sliced celery and onion. (Okay to remove chicken if your pan is too small.) Saute and stir veggies for just a minute or two. You want some crunch, so best not to overcook veggies.

Next, make a clear area in the center of the frying pan and add the chopped garlic and ginger. Stir for a minute.

Add soy sauce and vinegar. Add a teaspoon of sugar or your favorite sweetener, optional.

Finally, add 2 tablespoons of crushed black pepper. You can add one tablespoon and taste, then add more until the desired flavor. Okay to use ground pepper. Crushed peppercorns are the most intense way to go.

If you like more sauce, then pour in a 1/4 cup of water or broth, and stir-fry for another minute.

Serve over rice, your favorite grain, or noodles. It's good on its own, too.

If you like more veggies in your stir-fry, then add more celery. The same goes for chicken.

You don't want to overcook the veggies, so just saute for a couple of minutes, at the most.

Using a pepper grinder makes the most intense flavor, with black peppery bites.

Make your life easier and use store-bought bottled Chinese Stir-Fry Sauce, if you like.

You can make this stir fry with any cheap seasonal veggie you like, including carrots, spinach, broccoli, and squash.

Use any cut of chicken you like. Keep it lighter with lean white meat. For this recipe I used cheaper dark meat -- it's all good.


Shay said...

This looks delicious! I love Panda Express black pepper chicken...but not the cost of eating out. So I'm going to give this a try for dinner this week! Thank you, Chef!

99 Cent Chef said...

hi Shay, all the Panda Express Entrees need the 99 Cent Chef treatment ;-p

Diane BC said...

I did this last week and it was really easy and yummy! My husband usually prefers white meat but I did it with the thighs I had in the freezer. He says I'm the chicken queen :) Keep the great recipes coming.

KetaRita said...

Usually I can't stand Panda Express...but I do love dupes and this one looks awesome! Thumbs up on the recipe Chef!

99 Cent Chef said...

thanks Diane BC & Ketra Rita, keep on cooking ;-p

Shay said...

Just realized I've been making your recipe now for almost six years...and I still love it! Thanks again for posting it!

Shay said...

Just realized that I've been making your recipe now for almost six years...and I'm still loving it! Thanks again for posting it, Chef!

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