General Tso’s is one of those wildly popular Chinese dishes that can seem quite intimidating to make at home. Whether it’s the deep-frying or the somewhat touchy sauce mixture, most people seem to enjoy this only at Chinese restaurants.
This has been one of our favorite dishes for years, although it kind of fell off our cooking radar for a while. (We make a point to limit our deep-frying.) But the hubby and I took a Chinese cooking class last month, and not only were we paired up to cook together, but this was our assigned dish. And it’s almost exactly the same as the recipe I’d been using.
The perfect sauce combination can be a bit tricky to achieve; note that the vinegar tastes overpowering in the raw sauce, but will mellow a bit when cooked. And while the dried hot peppers are optional, to us, it’s not General Tso’s without them.
I was pretty sick this evening, so I left the hubby to do the work while I supervised from my blanket-and-pillow spot on the floor just outside the kitchen. (Hey, supervising is hard work.) So I have yet to try the finished product this time around, but the hubby assures me it was yummy and his tummy is full.
General Tso’s Chicken
2½-3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
¼ c. soy sauce
1 tsp. white pepper (you can substitute black pepper, but it’s not quite as strong)
1 egg, beaten
¾ c. cornstarch
Vegetable oil to fill a large saucepan or deep fryer
¼ c. cornstarch
½ c. soy sauce
Scant ¼ c. white vinegar (tread lightly; you can always add more)
¼ c. dry sherry
½-¾ c. sugar
1½ tsp. dry chicken bouillion or 1½ c. hot chicken broth
1 tsp. vegetable oil or wok oil
1½ tsp. minced garlic
1½ tsp. minced or grated ginger
2 tsp. dried red chile peppers, crushed
½ c. scallions, chopped
1. Combine chicken, soy sauce, and white pepper in a bowl. Add beaten egg. Preheat oil in a pan. When oil is hot, add cornstarch to chicken and combine thoroughly.
2. Fry chicken in batches until brown and cooked through, about 5-6 minutes per batch.
(Note: Use a larger pan and don’t fill your pan too full, or the oil can overflow.)
(Note #2: If you fill the pan too full, don’t use a plastic measuring cup to remove oil. Hot oil melts plastic. Just guessing here, of course.)
3. Let chicken drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
4. Combine sauce ingredients in a medium bowl.
5. Heat a wok to medium heat and add oil. Saute garlic, ginger, and crushed chile about 30 seconds, or until garlic starts to brown. Add sauce. Stir constantly until sauce starts to thicken, about 1 minute. Add scallions.
6. Return chicken to pan and stir until chicken is coated with sauce.
7. Serve over hot rice.