Kung Pao means "guardian of the throne." Legend has it that this ginger-and-garlic-accented dish was named for a Chinese general--one of the throne's guardians--who woke up in the middle of the night and commanded his chef to make him a snack. This was the result.
Cut chicken into 3/4-inch pieces. In a medium bowl stir together chicken, sherry, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Let stand for 15 minutes.
For sauce, in a small bowl stir together water, soy sauce, 4 teaspoons cornstarch, sugar, vinegar, and hot pepper sauce. Set aside.
Pour cooking oil into a wok or large skillet. (Add more oil as necessary during cooking.) Preheat over medium-high heat. Stir-fry ginger and garlic in hot oil for 15 seconds. Add chicken mixture; stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until no pink remains. Push chicken from the center of the wok.
Stir sauce. Add sauce to the center of the wok. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add green onion pieces and peanuts. Stir all ingredients together to coat with sauce. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes more or until heated through. Serve immediately with hot cooked rice. Garnish with green onion fans, if desired. Makes 4 servings.