Gong Bao Chicken Stew/Stir Fry in a Rice Cooker

When I do food shopping, I do regularly pay attention to the marked-down items (yellow sticker as in UK) because that can really cut food bills right down, and I'm just cheap 😁. Obviously, I'll have to be extra careful in checking the freshness of the item especially when it comes to meat: any dull colour or discolouring is a no-no, and if it gives out a stench, give it up.

I don't buy pre-packed ingredients on a normal basis due to environmental issues (excessive packaging), higher prices and limited choices; but in cases like this, I would because otherwise it will go to waste, including the packaging. So I've got this pre-packed Gong Bao Chicken stir fry set for RM3.50 (about 70p) after 50% off, which looks perfectly fine and fresh except for the shallots that didn't look their best, and that's not a big deal.

Here's what came in the package:
Chopped pieces of quarter skin-on chicken on the bone (ah well, we're in Asia now so deal with it)
A quarter of red bell pepper
A quarter of green bell pepper
A quarter of yellow bell pepper
4 shallots (which were not tip-top so I put in the planter to grow spring onion, and replaced with 1 large red onion)
4 cloves of garlic
2 thumb sized chunks of root ginger
3 dried chillies

Additional ingredients needed that are not in the package:
2 tablespoons dark soya sauce
2 tablespoons light soya sauce
A little salt and pepper

Looking at the pack of Gong Bao Chicken ingredients, I wondered if I fancy standing in front of the hot stove on this hot day. Quick answer: NO.

Then my cheeky mind and lazy self had a twisted idea: Instead of doing a conventional Gong Bao Chicken stir fry, I could have a Gong Bao Chicken stew, cooked using the rice cooker! I decided that I will give it a go, and here's how I did it:
  1. Cut all the bell pepper portions and the dried chillies into bite size, slice up the onion and garlic, and mince the ginger.
  2. Pour about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil into the rice cooker (mine is the traditional model, not sure how the latest model would work), turn it on to heat the oil. 
  3. First, brown the onion, garlic, ginger and dried chillies in the oil for a few minutes. Add in the chicken pieces and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the skin is browned.
  4. Add in the light and dark soya sauce, stir to coat the chicken well with the sauce. Pour in 2 glasses of water, stir well then cook for 20 minutes with the lid on.
  5. I did have to check after 10 minutes or so, to make sure that the rice cooker doesn't turn itself off. Reason being, rice cooker is designed in such a way that it senses the weight of the internal pot; when moisture is being absorbed and evaporated, the internal pot will become lighter and causes the rice cooker to turn off. If that happens, I just need to add a little more water and turn it on again.
  6. After 20 minutes or so, the chicken pieces are cooked and the sauce is thickened. This is the time to add in the bell pepper pieces. At this point, if the rice cooker is still on, I will turn it off and put the lid back on just to let it simmer for 5 more minutes, as bell pepper cooks very quickly.
  7. Grind a little salt and pepper over before serving.

The outcome is not far from the stir fry, just slightly more gravy. I believe this would also be a great alternative for when the gas runs out whilst cooking (we're on single gas tank supply).

Says who you have to have a wok or pan to do Gong Bao Chicken? 😉


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