Wednesday, March 16, 2011

General Tso's Chicken

This recipe was featured on one of the blogs I follow, What's Cookin', Chicago?. The original recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated.

I really love Chinese-American food, especially anything fried and drenched in a tasty sauce, and after my success making Orange Chicken I wanted to try another dish.

This was really good - the flavor was just like you'd find at a chinese buffet. I didn't succeed at battering the way the recipe directs; once I added the leftover marinade, my "batter" became a big ball of dough. I tried to save it, by adding more cornstarch and flour, but it was too far gone. So, instead, I just made a basic batter of cornstarch, flour, and baking soda. I'm not sure how different it would taste with it as directed. Otherwise, easy recipe - just hands on (but quick!).

I made cream cheese wontons to go with it, along with white rice.

Definitely a keeper!

General Tso's Chicken
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (I subbed cayenne instead - gave a subtle kick)

Coating & frying:
3 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups vegetable oil
1-2 green onions, thinly sliced on a bias for garnish

Prep the chicken breasts by cutting them into 1 inch pieces.

To make the marinade & sauce, whisk the hoisin, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and water in a bowl. Of this mixture, place 6 tablespoons into a zip lock storage bag and add the chicken; seal and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Set aside the remaining marinade in the bowl.

While the chicken is chilling in the marinade, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Sauté the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes until fragrant. Add 2 cups of the hoisin marinade to the skillet and simmer, whisking constantly, until the mixture is dark brown and thickened. Remove from heat, cover and keep the sauce warm.

To prepare the chicken coating and frying, whisk the egg whites in a shallow dish until foamy; set aside. Combine the cornstarch, flour, baking soda, and remaining hoisin marinade in a second shallow dish; mix until it resembles coarse meal. (this is the step that did not work out for me!)

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and from the marinade. Pat the marinated chicken dry with paper towels. Toss half the chicken into the foamy egg whites until well coated, then dredge the chicken in the cornstarch mmixture, pressing to adhere. Transfer the coated chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat until the oil registers 350 degrees. Fry half the chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning each piece halfway through cooking. Transfer the cooked chicken onto a paper towel lined plate to drain. Return the oil to 350 degrees before frying again. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Warm the sauce over medium heat until simmering. Place the sauce in a large bowl and add the fried chicken pieces. Toss to coat and serve.

1 comment :

  1. Sounds delicious! General Tso's is one of my favorites when I can find a restaurant who knows how to do it. Can't wait to try your version!

    I don't mean to be offensive but a better camera would help traffic to your site tremendously. The pics are pretty dark and hard to get a good idea of what the results should look like. But your ingredients sound right on so I had to comment.


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