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Culinary SOS

Lotus West's Chicken Dish

June 19, 1986

Dear SOS: My all-time favorite dish is the kung pao chicken from Lotus West in Los Angeles. Please obtain the recipe. I'm sure your readers would enjoy it too.

--BEVERLY

Dear Beverly: The Lotus West people graciously sent the recipe, which we have tested and enjoyed too. Kung pao chicken happens to be one of the restaurant's most popular dishes.

LOTUS WEST KUNG PAO CHICKEN

2 whole chicken breasts, boned, skinned and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 egg white

1 teaspoon cornstarch

4 cups oil for deep-frying

1/3 cup skinless roasted peanuts

5 to 10 whole dried red chiles

2 green onions, cut into 1/3-inch lengths

2 cloves garlic, minced

Chili Sauce

Combine chicken, egg white and cornstarch. Mix well by hand. Heat oil to smoking hot. Deep-fry chicken until almost cooked. Remove and drain on paper towels. Reheat oil. Add peanuts and cook over medium heat until golden brown. Remove with strainer and drain. Cool.

Reheat 2 tablespoons oil in wok. Add chiles and cook, stirring, until very dark, but not scorched. Reduce heat. Add green onions and garlic. Stir-fry 30 seconds. Add cooked chicken and stir-fry 1 minute over high heat. Add Chili Sauce. Stir-fry until thoroughly heated and glazed. Sprinkle roasted peanuts on top. Makes 4 servings.

Chili Sauce

1 teaspoon chili paste with minced garlic

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 tablespoon Sherry

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup chicken stock

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon sesame seed oil

Combine chili paste, soy sauce, Sherry, sugar, chicken stock, cornstarch and sesame seed oil. Blend well.

Dear SOS: I lost my recipe for Granola Bars. Can you help?

--NANCY

Dear Nancy: Certainly. And what a good snack for children out-of-school.

GRANOLA BARS

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup honey

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups bite-size crispy bran squares, crushed to 1/2 cup

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sunflower nuts

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Cream together butter and brown sugar. Beat in honey, egg and vanilla. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and bran squares. Add to creamed mixture.

Stir in raisins, coconut and 1/4 cup sunflower nuts. Spread evenly in greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle sesame seeds and remaining 3 tablespoons sunflower nuts evenly over top. Bake at 350 degrees 15 to 20 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean and top is lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars. Makes 24 bars.

Dear SOS: I am looking for a recipe called Waikiki meatballs. This particular recipe contains catsup and ginger in it. Do you have it?

CARLA

Dear Carla: Not as such. But why don't you try this one and see if it will work.

WAIKIKI (SORT OF) MEATBALLS

1 1/2 pounds ground beef, pork or ham

1 egg

2 tablespoons pineapple juice or syrup

2 slices bread, crumbled

1/4 cup grated onion

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup catsup

2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup cider vinegar

Mix beef, egg, pineapple juice, bread, onion, soy sauce, ginger, catsup, brown sugar and vinegar. Form into small balls. Arrange in single layer in lightly oiled baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees 25 minutes. Spear with wood picks and serve from chafing dish. Makes 12 appetizer servings.

Dear SOS: Help, I'm desperate. I've lost (or loaned to a friend) my absolute favorite chocolate cheesecake recipe that I got from your pages around a year ago. I hope you can dig it up for me. I think it was from some Hollywood restaurant.

--PATTI

Dear Patti: You're right. It was from Robert's Hollywood Grille and it certainly is a terrific chocolate cheesecake.

ROBERT'S HOLLYWOOD GRILLE DARK CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE

1 pound semisweet chocolate pieces, melted

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup fresh coffee beverage

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese

1 (1-pound) carton sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

Graham Cracker Crust

Melt chocolate with butter and coffee until smooth. Beat cream cheese until soft. Beat in chocolate mixture, sour cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Turn into prepared Graham Cracker Crust. Bake at 300 degrees 2 hours or until wood pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Graham Cracker Crust

1 cup crushed graham crackers

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter or margarine

Combine crushed graham crackers and sugar in bowl. Work in butter until crumbly. Press into greased 10-inch springform pan.

Only recipes of general interest will be printed. We are unable to answer all requests. Please include restaurant address when requesting recipes from restaurants. Send your letter with self-addressed, stamped envelope to Culinary SOS, Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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