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 deep-fried, it tastes just as good when shallow-fried - a safer, easier, and healthier option.
- 750 g (conversion: 26.45 ounces or 1.65 pounds) Chicken dark meat (thighs or legs). Boneless, skinless, uncooked. Cut into 2 cm (conversion: approximately 3/4 inch) cubes. Note: dark meat is perferred, but you can also use white meat, or both!
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 2-3 tbsp. cornstarch, or as needed to thicken batter
- Seasoning to taste
- 700 ml (conversion: approximately 3 cups) oil to deep fry, or enough oil to shallow-fry
- 2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. red Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tbsp. 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, chopped
- 1 tbsp. chopped dried chili peppers
- Beat the egg, light soy sauce, and seasoning in a bowl
- Add the chicken to the egg mixture and stir in the cornstarch to thicken the batter
- Mix the sauce ingredients in another bowl and set aside until needed. Stir out any lumps.
- Heat the oil in a wok (if deep frying, about 180 degrees Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit)
- 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. Remove excess oil from the chicken pieces after frying.
- After frying the chicken, empty and wipe clean the wok, add 2 tbsp. oil back to the wok for shallow-frying, and return to the heat.
- Fry the spring onions and chili peppers together for about 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken cubes back to the wok and stir fry in the vegetables until browned.
- Stir sauce and add to wok. After the sauce comes to a boil, cook for about 1 minute or 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 chili peppers depending on your liking for spicy-hot foods.
- The quantity of sauce can be increased according to preference.
- Use care in handling 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 can cause very severe burns or start a fire. Always keep a fire extinguisher handy and make sure it is properly charged yearly.