Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thank you General

General Tso's Chicken--a lighter version
(lighter than delivery/take-out)
(My photo is sloppy, I spilled while plating up)

Last night's dinner came via email from Everyday Food. A lighter version of General Tso's Chicken. It was delicious, filling, not too difficult and it seemed pretty close to the take-out version in flavor, with a lighter, crispy coating.

A note before I get started. The recipe says this is for four people. I'm not too sure about that, we got two servings, no left0vers. I used 1/2 the full amount of veggies, because I'm stretching the veggies I bought to get me through a few meals. Perhaps with the full amount you might be 2 dinners and 2 small lunches...but I'm not sure you'd get four dinners.

Lighter General Tso's Chicken
from Everyday Food

Serves 4.

1 ¼ cups long-grain brown rice
¼ cup cornstarch
1 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated and peeled
3 TB light-brown sugar
2 TB soy sauce
½ tsp red-pepper flakes
2 large egg whites
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 TB vegetable oil, such as safflower


1. Cook rice according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and ½ cup cold water until smooth. Add snow peas, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and red-pepper flakes; toss to combine, and set aside.

2. In another bowl, whisk together egg whites, remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add chicken, and toss to coat.

3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Lift half the chicken from egg-white mixture (shaking off excess), and add to skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining oil and chicken, and set aside (reserve skillet).

4. Add snow-pea mixture to skillet. Cover; cook until snow peas are tender and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet (with any juices); toss to coat. Serve with rice.

*Use whatever rice you have. Brown rice is better for you; less processed, but don't run out and get brown, just for this recipe.
*This recipe calls for snow peas. I used green beans, as that's what I had. It works. Use broccoli if you like, as it is traditional with this dish. Use other veggies if you like. If you use broccoli or other larger veg, you may need to steam it first, so it doesn't have to cook for a longer time in the sauce.
*Red pepper flakes. I might use a full 1 tsp next time. I could use more spice. Use as much as you like.
*And the oil, I wouldn't use olive oil, but other oils work fine.

*Step one calls for ½ cup of cold water. It wasn't enough. When I poured the sauce mixture into my pan it seized up immediately and nearly started burning. I probably used a full cup of water. If you're comfortable, start with the ½ cup of water, but have more handy if you need, then add until you get the consistency you want for the sauce.
*Step two is the same as when I made the sweet & sour chicken earlier this month. You do need to work in batches, so your time is needed, but it's worth it. The coating is light and crisp with a subtle flavor. Also, I only used 1 ½ TB of cornstarch and 1 egg white for this recipe, half what is listed. It was plenty, so I got to save an egg for later!

Go forth and conquer.


Dancer in DC said...

Don't know if it's substantially healthier, but then again just about everything from a Chinese take-out place is probably not that great for you, anyway.

Very tasty - ate it up fast!

Lady Brandenburg said...

Funny - J. had General Tso's from our take out place last night (I had shrimp and broccoli) and was disappointed. We could have just made our own!!

Jack said...

Is it terrible that I think that this sounds like too much work when I have a great Chinese take out place across the street? I promise to only eat have portions to make it healthier...