Contrary to popular belief, I do not always cook Italian food. I like to mix it up sometimes… you have to live a little right? The other night I had a craving for Chinese food, but I was destined to make it myself. I am not a fan of Chinese take-out; it just doesn’t sit right with me. It must be all the salt you intake… that can’t be good for anybody. The last time I ordered Chinese food had to be at least five years ago. I remember always ordering the General Tso’s Chicken. I thought about how drool-worthy the sauce for the chicken was and decided THAT was the dish I would recreate.
I found this article about Chinese take-out when searching among hundreds of recipe options. The Bitten Word boys convinced me that Grace Parisi knew what she was talking about when she wrote this recipe. I trusted them, and her, because this isn’t the first recipe of hers I’ve made. I have to say, I think it came out pretty good – no pretty great actually! To start, the chicken isn’t deep-fried; it only needed a shallow-fry, which is a little healthier for you. The “marinade” for the chicken was extremely thick, almost paste-like. I was scared at first because I thought I did something wrong! Once I started cooking, I realized that is what you needed to achieve the crunchy outside of your usual General Tso’s Chicken. Coating your chicken with that amazingly glossy sweet sauce took this dish to a whole new level! I could have drank it straight out of a glass, but that would be disgusting of course. On a side note, Shaun-o doesn’t like spicy foods so I omitted the chili-garlic sauce from Grace’s recipe. When we were ready to eat I just sprinkled a little red pepper flakes on top of my dish.
Cooking the ginger and garlic before adding the sauce ingredients was extremely beneficial. Not only did my house smell wonderful during dinner, but it really brought out the flavor of those two ingredients immensely. Lastly, the scallions over the chicken and rice was a must-have for me. I love adding a fresh element to my dishes, even if it is only the lonely green onion. It might be quicker to call up your local Chinese food restaurant, but you’ll feel better about yourself (in more ways than one) if you try this recipe out yourself.
General Tso’s Chicken (adapted from Food & Wine magazine)
- 3 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying
- 2 tablespoons very finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- White rice, for serving
- In a medium bowl, combine the sesame oil with the egg whites, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch. Add the chicken, stirring to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the chicken broth with the sugar and remaining 1/4 cup of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
- In a large saucepan, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the ginger and garlic and cook over high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir the broth mixture, add it to the pan and cook until thickened and glossy, about 3 minutes. Keep the sauce warm over low heat.
- In a large, deep skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil until shimmering. Carefully add the chicken, one piece at a time, and fry over high heat, turning once or twice, until very browned and crisp, about 4-6 minutes. Drain the chicken on paper towels and immediately add to the sauce.Â Cook just until coated, about 30 seconds. Serve right away, with rice, sprinkled with scallions. Serves 4.