Kung Pao Chicken and Vegetables

I love pretty food, and I’m a very visual person. Sometimes I add certain vegetables to a recipe solely to add color. In this case I chose orange and yellow bell peppers and green snow peas so I could add them to the red from the chillies and create a rainbow. Nerdy? Perhaps. But I think there’s some truth to the saying, “We eat with our eyes first.” My eyes fell in love with this dish instantly, and luckily, my mouth followed suit.

Prep time 25 minutes
Serves 6

2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 11/2 pounds, or 680 g), cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup (160 ml) coconut aminos
2 tablespoons (30 ml) mirin or rice vinegar
2 tablespoons (20 g) fresh minced garlic (6 to 8 cloves)
2 tablespoons (16 g) freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon (19 g) fish sauce
2 bell peppers (any color), seeded and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1/2 of a medium onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons (20 g) tomato paste
5 to 10 dried red chillies
3 tablespoons (60 g) honey
1 tablespoon (15 ml) balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, crushed
A large handful of snow peas
2 green onions, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1/4 cup (69 g) cashew halves
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Cauliflower Rice, for serving

1 Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt on the chicken; toss it around to coat evenly. Place the chicken in a 4-quart (3.8 liter) slow cooker.
2 In a medium bowl combine the aminos, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce. Pour half of the mixture over the chicken and set the rest aside for later. Add the bell peppers and onions to the slow cooker, too.
3 Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Chicken should be tender, but not dry.
4 Pour the cooking juices into a medium skillet. I just tilt the cooker until most of the juices run out of it, but you can remove the chicken and vegetables with a slotted spoon if that is easier. Return the chicken and vegetables to the cooker if you choose to strain the juices that way.
5 To the juices in the skillet, add the reserved aminos mixture, tomato paste, chillies, honey, balsamic, sesame oil, and peppercorns. Cook over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, until mixture has reduced and thickened slightly. Pour the sauce back into the cooker with the chicken and vegetables.
6 Stir in the snow peas, green onions, cashews, and cilantro. Cook on high for about 15 minutes.
7 Serve with Cauliflower Rice and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.