General Tso’s Chicken!

 

 

New Mexico has without any doubt the best Mexican food in the country.

But when it comes to Chinese? Oh, we have eaten some of the worst you can imagine. We have found only one place that comes close to our standards, so, it seemed prudent to learn a bit more Asian cooking if we were not to be spending all our time eating out.

One of my most favorite dishes is this one, and it can often miss the mark, being too sweet, too breaded, or too blah, if you know what I mean.

I found this recipe on Appetite for China and found it was perfect. As with a lot of Asian cooking, the prep time is long, the cooking time short. But this is simply worth it. So do try your own. You will find that making good homemade Chinese is so much better than average and lousy take out!

I made this as listed except that I stir-fried a bunch of other veggies, like carrots and celery to add to the dish at the end.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb boneless chicken thigh meat (you can use breast meat of course but the thigh meat does stay jucier)
  • Up to 1 c or so of cornstarch (as needed to coat your pieces for frying
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 3-4 tbsp of oil for frying (peanut or canola)
  • 8 dried red chiles (can use flakes if you can’t get the dried variety)
  • 2 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 3-4 scallions, white and green parts, chopped.

Marinade:

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or sherry
  • 2 egg whites (whisk vigorously to foam them up)

Sauce

  • 1/4 c chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp chili paste
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cube your chicken into bite-sized pieces and then place in the marinade for about 10 minutes.
  2. Prepare your sauce, and set aside.
  3. If using other veggies, prep them by cleaning and cutting into the size you wish to use.
  4. Salt and pepper your chicken pieces and mix to distribute.
  5. Pour a cup of cornstarch into a bowl, coating the pieces of chicken thoroughly.
  6. Heat oil in wok or large frying pan. You want a temperature of about 350°. I prefer working in a smaller fry pan (cast iron) and doing this in batches. Cook until pieces are golden brown and cooked inside, about 4-5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and drain. Do until all are done.
  7. Place more oil in a larger pan and heat up. Stir-fry the veggies until they are done to your liking–tender crisp. Remove to the chicken dish. Add the chiles and garlic and saute until the chiles begin to crackle and pop. Depending on how hot you like it, keep it going. If you don’t like heat, then just sear the chiles and go to the next step. Otherwise, let them pop open and blacken up.
  8. Dump all your chicken and veggies into the pan and then add your sauce. Stir the sauce as it heats, coating your veggies and chicken. Once the sauce is bubbly and thickened, you are done.
  9. Serve with sesame seeds and scallions scattered over the top.

Serves: 4

NOTE: serve with rice of course, or cellophane noodles. Use any veggies you enjoy such as broccoli, baby corn, pea pods, etc. Or just do the chicken alone. Great with crab Rangoon and spring rolls, homemade if you can manage it. (The store-bought kinds are all crap as far as I have determined. I’ll be making some soon and will post the recipes.)

 

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