What do you do on a frightfully cold, rainy day when you get a craving for General Tso's chicken and your last attempt at ordering from your local Chinese delivery place led to a horrendously frustrating 20 minute conversation with the delivery driver who could not find your apartment or speak enough English to understand your directions? You search for a recipe and do a happy dance when you realize you have all the ingredients at home! This was me on a recent weekend evening. I had never made General Tso's before and felt that I had to use a recipe because I had no idea what went into it (other than delicious goodness). The recipe I chose did not yield optimal results. If you make this, please heed me and use less cornstarch-the sauce as it turned out was overly gluey-and more soy sauce. Double the soy would be good, and the cornstarch could be reduced by half I think. I also forgot to take a picture of all the ingredients assembled. Sorry—I was hungry.
Here is what you'll need to make this as I did, but please think about the cornstarch and soy amounts!
3 lbs boneless skinless chicken, in bite sized chunks
2 cups sliced scallions
8 small dried red chiles, diced
3/4 cup soy sauce
1 egg, beaten
1.5 cups cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white wine or sake
1.5 tsp minced garlic
14.5 oz chicken broth
canola oil to deep fry chicken
rice and broccoli to serve alongside
1. First chop your chicken into bite sized chunks like so.
2. Now mix 1/4 cup soy sauce, the beaten egg, and 1/2 cup cornstarch in a bowl. Heat enough canola oil in a heavy skillet as to cover your chicken pieces when you fry them—mine was about 2 inches deep. The oil temp. should reach 350 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, it will be shimmering and if you drop a small piece of batter in it, it will sizzle and pop and brown. Now dip the chicken into the batter, shake off excess, and drop a few pieces at a time into the oil (how much you do at once will depend on the size of your skillet).
3. Fry the chicken bits until golden brown, as shown below. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all your chicken is done.
4. Now combine the ingredients for the sauce. Stir together the remaining corn starch and soy sauce, vinegar, wine, sugar, broth, water and garlic.
5. Now add a little oil to a large skillet or wok and saute the scallions and chiles. Stir fry on high heat for about 30 seconds.
6. Add the sauce mixture to the pan with scallions and chiles and stir until it thickens. This will happen pretty quickly-mine thickened in about a minute or less.
7. Add the chicken to the sauce and toss gently to coat. Remove from the heat right away.
8. Serve on a bed of rice and broccoli.