Have you noticed it? Have you noticed how those rectangular containers have shrunken? They’re, like, a third smaller. But the price, still the same.
We don’t eat Chinese take-out a whole lot, but when we do, we have our favorites. My mom exclusively gets General Tso’s chicken so I decided to be a nice daughter and recreate her favorite take-out dish for dinner. It was a hit with everyone. *Note: When I say everyone, the toddler is NEVER included unless otherwise specified. He eats nothing. Remember the Kale Chips?
I thought that this might be kind of difficult to recreate at home, but it was really easy. This was one of the last dinners scheduled on the menu so I was running out of staple ingredients. I didn’t have cornstarch to bread the chicken so I used flour and I didn’t have any eggs to coat the chicken so I replaced it with a little milk. It wasn’t as pretty as it would have been had I had the right ingredients, but it did the job. I found that the recipe for the sauce didn’t make enough so next time I will double it. Aside from the fact that I was ill-prepared for this meal, it was very yummy. And it’s cheaper than take-out. Cheap+yummy+ I’m poor too= I’m making this again instead of take-out.
General Tso’s Chicken
For the chicken:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into 1-inch cubes
1 ½ cups cornstarch
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
3 cups peanut or vegetable oil for frying, plus 1 tbsp for stir-frying
8 dried whole red chilis, or substitute ¼ teaspoon dried red chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp white sesame seeds, for garnish
Scallions, for garnish
For the marinade:
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 egg whites
For the sauce:
¼ cup chicken stock
1 ½ tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp chili paste
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
- For the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, and egg whites (Or milk, if you’re me.). Coat the chicken in the marinade mixture and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
- For the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the chicken stock and the next 8 ingredients. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are completely dissolved and set aside.
- For the chicken: In a large bowl, toss the 1 ½ cups of cornstarch with the salt and pepper. Coat the marinated chicken in the cornstarch and shake off any excess before frying.
- Heat the 3 cups of oil in your wok (or any deep sided pan will work if you don’t have a wok) until it reaches 350°F. I don’t have a thermometer, so I always use the wooden spoon trick. Put the wooden spoon handle in the oil and if it bubbles all around the spoon, it’s ready.
- Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the first batch of chicken cubes and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
- Drain the oil and wipe the wok with a paper towel, but don’t wash. Reheat the wok over medium-high heat and add another tbsp of oil and swirl to coat. Add the dried chilis and garlic and stir-fry until just fragrant, about 20 seconds. Pour the sauce mixture in and stir until thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
- Return the chicken to the wok and stir well to coat with the sauce. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve with white rice and your choice of vegetable.
Source: Appetite for China