Sunday, February 18, 2007

Ahh-10-Shun

Happy Chinese New Year! In celebration, I made my favorite dish to order at a Chinese restaurant....The General's Chicken. Even though it may not be Chinese at all?!?! It's still delicious and my favorite!

This recipe came from a favorite blog that I read many times a day, Slashfood. The site is updated several times a day with interesting articles on food, cookbooks and recipes. A catch-all blog. The first time I found the site, I spent several hours going through the archives!

And now...

General Tso's Chicken

1 lb. boneless skinless, chicken thighs or breast meat
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
Oil for frying (peanut works best, but corn or canola can also be used)

Get your stuff in order, this can move pretty quickly.

In a large bowl, thoroughly blend the cornstarch and the eggs. Add chicken cubes and mix well. In either a deep-fryer or a large pot, heat oil to 350 degrees and fry the chicken pieces in small batches until golden and fully cooked throughout. Set aside.

I didn't think there was going to be enough batter for the chicken, but it was plenty.

The first batch of chicken is done.

In a saucepan, mix the following ingredients:
2 tsp cornstarch
2 TB rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TB sugar (brown is preferred, but white is fine too)
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp crushed red chili pepper
* Note: the heat from the chili peppers comes out as the mixture cooks. You can use more or less depending on your personal taste.

Cook on medium heat until mixture begins to thicken, then add chicken pieces. You can finish it off on a baking sheet in the oven for five minutes so it caramelizes a bit, or you can serve it at this point if you want to skip that step.

Sauce starting to work.

The sauce has thickened.

Serve with rice and steamed or stir-fried vegetables of your choice.

Dinner is served.

Alright. This was pretty good, but something was missing...? I don't know what it is. J-lo thinks it might be a touch of citrus/OJ to the sauce. That could be. I tasted the sauce with the ingredients listed here and didn't think it was right so I added a few little bits. Another 1/4 cup of soy sauce. 2 TB ketchup. 2 TB oyster sauce. Thinnly sliced green scallions. These improved the flavor a bit, but still something wasn't right. Maybe a little more brown sugar and some OJ next time. And maybe only 1 tsp of cornstarch to thicken the sauce. I had to add some water to thin it a little, but it was still to thick. I'd like it better as a glaze, instead of this thicker sauce.

Also, the chicken. The chicken just wouldn't get crispy enough...and I think that is very important. Next time I might add some flour to the batter and see if that can help the chicken develop a crunchier texture. I did put the chicken in the oven while I waited on my rice to cook and the sauce to finish.


4 comments:

Stef said...

That looks good. I'm glad to know what happened to the chicken and ginger you picked up this afternoon!

Teehee, I cubed chicken myself for dinner tonight. It's amazing how much more fun it is to cook with a real knife! :-)

Dancer in DC said...

Maybe that's it - just needs a touch more sweetness. It was a little too on the spicy/salty side for Tso's sauce.

Natalya said...

My recipe is very similar to yours, however, I also add sugar, some sesame oil and a little bit of fresh ginger.

Anonymous said...

To get your chicken crispier you need to double fry it. Fry it once until it is cooked through and then let it drain on a paper towel. Then once you are ready to eat through it back into the fryer for about 30 seconds. Comes out perfect everytime.