This is my Hubby’s go-to dish when we order Chinese for dinner. I knew my he would like this dish when I sampled the sauce during the cooking process and the spiciness took my breath away (that doesn’t take much though). It’s a good thing he seemed to enjoy it, because my pantry is now pretty well stocked with Asian ingredients…I may just have to try some more recipes from this book again soon.
General Tso’s Chicken
Credit: The Chinese Takeout Cookbook by Diana Kuan
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 large egg whites
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
¼ cup chicken stock
1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon white rice vinegar
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon chili sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 ½ cups cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups peanut oil or vegetable oil, plus 1 tablespoon for stir-frying
8 dried whole red chilies, or substitute ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
Scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
1. Marinate the chicken. In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, and egg whites. Add the chicken and stir gently to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
2. In a small dry pan, toast the sesame seeds for about 1 minute, until they become lightly brown and aromatic. Transfer to a dish and set aside.
3. Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the chicken stock, tomato paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, chili sauce, sesame oil, sugar and cornstarch. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set aside.
4. Toss the 1 ½ cups cornstarch with the salt and pepper in a large bowl or deep plate. Coat the marinated chicken in the cornstarch mixture and shake off any excess before frying.
5. Heat the peanut oil in a wok of heavy-bottomed pot until it registers 350°F on an instant-read oil thermometer. Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the first batch of chicken cubes and deep-fry until lightly golden on the outside and and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the chicken. (Optional: To get the chicken extra crispy, allow the chicken to drain and cool for 5 minutes, then put the chicken back in the wok to fry for about another 30 seconds until golden brown.)
6. Transfer the oil to a heat-roof container. (It will take about 1 hour to fully cool, after which you can transfer it to a container with a tight lid to dispose of it.) If you used a wok to deep-fry, you can reuse it to stir-fry the chicken next by just wiping down the insides with a paper towel. If you used a heavy-bottomed pot for deep-frying, switch to a clean wok or large skillet for stir-frying
7. Heat the wok or skillet over medium-high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat the bottom Add the chilies and garlic and stir-fry until just fragrant, about 20 seconds. Pour in the sauce mixture and heat briefly to thicken.
8. Return the chicken to the wok and stir well to coat with sauce Transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Garnish with the toasted sesame seeds and scallions and serve.