Erin Loves General Tso Chicken

Last weekend I was at Garjo’s home (my parents, Gary and Joanne) Saturday night for a big family dinner. We always have an amazing time cooking together in kitchen, we have cocktails, listen to loud music and help out where we can. The theme was Chinese this time and Jo gave us all a dish to make. Gary made his famous veggie fried rice, my brother tossed up salt and pepper squid, Jo took on tangy sweet pot-stickers, black bean eggplant and mushroom egg-drop soup and I made my favorite Chinese dish for the first time, General Tso Chicken.

I looked through many different recipes online and in my mother’s cookbooks before I finally decided on the one below – I found it on the blog called  Appetite for China  (@dianakuan). I tweeting a picture of the finished dish and got heaps of replies asking for the recipe – so here you are! It’s really easy and tasty – I would add more chili peppers in mine next time for a little more heat. I used peanut oil to fry the chicken, the marinade and corn starch coating made the chicken super crispy and moist. I also used boneless chicken breasts instead of thighs.

General Tso’s Chicken

Serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal, 2 to 3 as a main entree

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups peanut or vegetable oil for frying, plus 1 tablespoon for stir-frying
  • 8 dried whole red chilis, or substitute 1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Scallions, green parts thinly sliced, for garnish

Marinade:

  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 egg whites

Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup chicken stock, or substitute water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  1. Prepare the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, and egg whites. Coat the chicken to the marinade mixture and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the chicken stock, tomato paste, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, chili paste, sesame oil, sugar, and the 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set the sauce aside.
  3. In a large bowl or deep plate, toss the 1 1/2 cups cornstarch with the salt and pepper. Coat the marinated chicken in the cornstarch and shake off any excess before frying.
  4. Heat the 3 cups of peanut or vegetable oil in your wok until it registers 350°F on an instant-read oil thermometer. Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the first batch of chicken cubes and fry until golden brown on the outside and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
  5. Drain the oil into a heatproof container and save for discarding. Wipe the wok with a paper towel to remove any brown bits, but don’t wash.
  6. Reheat the wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the base and sides. Add the dried chilis and garlic to the wok and stir-fry until just fragrant, about 20 seconds. Pour in the sauce mixture and stir until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Return the chicken to the wok and stir well to coat with sauce. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Garnish with white sesame seeds and scallions. Serve with white rice and vegetables.

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