So! I have exciting news. If you’re local to the DC/MD/VA area, I will be speaking at The Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show on Saturday, December 3rd. My session is all about Food Photography. Other presenters at the event include Jacques Pépin, Tom Colicchio, Carla Hall and Duff Goldman; I’m incredibly honored to be there. If you’ve been wanting to learn how I take my photos, please join me! I’d love to see you there.
These kung pao brussels sprouts are a great vegetarian meal to serve alongside rice. If you want to add some protein, pan-fried tofu or tempeh would work very well. These are also a nice stand alone side dish. The whole thing comes together quickly, and the recipe has a nice heat level that isn’t overpowering as well as a sweetness that isn’t cloying.
This recipe calls for a few ingredients you might not be familiar with- sambal oelek and dried chiles de árbol. Sambal is a spicy Southeast Asian chile paste made from red hot chile peppers. There are often other ingredients included such as salt, vinegar, and garlic. Sambal can be found in the international aisle of most grocery stores (look near the Sriracha). You’ve probably seen dried chiles de árbol in various dishes at your local Chinese restaurant. I ordered some off Amazon because I was feeling lazy, but you can most likely track them down at a nicer grocery store or spice shop.
Yields 5-6 servings
10 minPrep Time
25 minCook Time
35 minTotal Time
- 2 pounds brussels sprouts, halved
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 medium or 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons sambal oelek (see notes)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 dried chiles de árbol, lightly crushed (see notes)
- 1/2 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a large bowl, toss the brussels sprouts with 3 tablespoons of the oil and then spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the brussels’ are caramelized and tender but toothsome.
- While the sprouts are roasting, prepare the sauce. Whisk the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water to create a slurry; set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden and fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add the sambal and cook, stirring, for an additional 2 minutes. Whisk in the soy sauce, water, vinegar, and sugar. Add the chiles and turn the heat to high. Once the sauce reaches a boil, whisk in the cornstarch slurry and continue cooking, whisking frequently, until the sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
- Toss the sauce with the roasted brussels sprouts and peanuts.
- Serve hot.
Sambal oelek can be found in the international aisle of many grocery stores. Dried chiles de árbol can be found in the spice section of grocery stores, spice shops, and are also available online (I purchased them through
Recipe lightly adapted from [Bon Appetit