General Tso’s Chicken
This weekend I made General Tso’s Chicken for the first time.
It’s a popular Chinese American dish, consisting of crispy fried chicken cubes coated in a salty, slightly sweet, and mildly spicy sauce. I surprised Mr. K with it and he loved it. He really enjoys these types of dishes and has been pretty excited that I’ve been making them for him now.
I remember the first time I saw General Tso’s chicken on a menu. My first thought was: What the heck is General Tso’s Chicken? The origins of the dish are murky. It was served in America as a Hunan dish but apparently if you visit Hunan, the dish is nowhere to be found.
According to The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, the dish became popular when Taiwanese chefs in New York served it in their Hunan restaurants.
The dish follows the same method as many other popular American Chinese dishes like Orange Chicken and Mongolian Beef. You fry the protein for a crunchy exterior. Definitely not healthy but it does make the meat extra tasty. Then the dish is mixed with a thick, sticky sauce, making it perfect for eating over a bed of rice.
I adapted this recipe from Appetite for China. I eliminated a few of the ingredients as well as left out the marinating of the meat to simplify the recipe. I’ve found that because the sauce is so strong, it’s enough to flavor the chicken so skipping the marinade isn’t that noticeable.
General Tso's Chicken
1 lb raw boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups cornstarch (for coating)
2 egg whites (for coating)
2-3 cups vegetable oil for frying
8 dried chilis or 1/2 tbsp red chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp white sesame seeds (garnish)
2 tsp chopped green scallions (garnish)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
for the sauce:
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp granulated white sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1. Add oil to pot being used for frying and bring to a medium high heat. Dip chicken pieces in egg white and then in cornstarch. Add to hot oil. Fry chicken in small batches until they turn a golden brown. Then remove and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up excess oil. Repeat until all chicken is fried.
2. In a small sauce pan, whisk together sauce ingredient until cornstarch is dissolved. Then heat sauce pan on low heat, stirring constantly until sauce just begins to thicken and before it begins to boil. Then turn off heat.
3. In a wok or large pan, add 1 tbsp vegetable oil and bring to a medium high heat. Add in minced garlic until aroma of garlic comes out. Add in fried chicken and stir. Pour on sauce and stir until all chicken pieces are coated. Turn off stove. Sprinkle scallions and sesame for garnish. Serve with rice.
Adapted from Appetite for China
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