Cookbook:General Tso's Chicken
|General Tso's Chicken|
|Time||prep: ~15 minutes
cooking: ~15 minutes
General Tso's Chicken (Zuo Zongtang ji in Mandarin) is a popular battered-chicken recipe in Chinese-American restaurants, allegedly hailing from Hunan province in China. However, the stories of the recipes heritage involving Zuo Zongtang (General Tso) are probably apocryphal, and it is more likely to be a dish based on similar Hunanese recipes, invented to please the American diner. Nonetheless, it is tasty and easy to prepare.
While the dish is traditionally a deep-fried one, it tastes just as good when shallow-fried - a safer, easier, and healthier option.
- 750 g Chicken dark meat (thighs or legs). Boneless, skinless, uncooked. Cut into a 2 cm cubes.
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 2-3 tbsp. cornstarch, or as needed to thicken batter
- Seasoning to taste
- 700 ml oil to deep fry, or enough oil to shallow-fry
- 2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp. chicken stock (optionally, water will suffice)
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped ginger
- 1 tbsp. crushed and chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch (optionally, to thicken sauce)
- 4 spring onions, sliced
- 1 tbsp. chopped dried chilli peppers
- Beat the egg and light soy sauce together with the seasoning in a bowl
- Mix the chicken with the egg mixture and stir in the cornstarch to thicken the batter
- Mix sauce ingredients in another bowl and set aside until needed. Stir out any lumps.
- Heat the oil in a wok (if deep frying, this is about 180 Celsius)
- If deep frying, fry the pieces of battered chicken a few at a time until crispy (around 3 minutes). If shallow-frying, fry until the chicken is cooked and the batter is golden.
- Empty and wipe clean the wok, add 2 tbsp. oil for shallow-frying and return to the heat. Remove excess oil from the chicken pieces if deep-frying.
- Fry the spring onions and chilli together from about 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken cubes back to the wok and stir fry in the vegetables until browning.
- Stir sauce and add to wok. After the sauce comes to a boil, cook for about 1 minute (until sauce thickens - the exact time will depend partly on how much cornstarch you added).
- Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Notes, tips, and variations
- Serve with steamed or fried rice.
- You can substitute a dry sherry for the Shaoxing wine.
- A small onion can be used instead of the spring onions.
- Reduce or increase the chilli depending on your liking for hot foods.
- The quantity of sauce could be increased according to preference.
- Use care in handling the raw chicken. Wash hands and utensils that come into contact with raw chicken. Don't allow raw chicken or its juices to come into contact with other foods, unless they are to be cooked afterwards.
- If deep-frying in a wok, be extremely careful with the hot oil - it is easy to cause a fire or very severe burns.