This General Tso's Chicken is reminiscent of New York City Chinese take out from the 20th century. It's sweet, spicy, and crispy. It's completely delicious too.
It's almost the last day of the fifteen days of Chinese New Year, and a new wok somehow landed on my doorstep in a box that had a smiley arrow on it. How does this keep happening?
I think it might have something to do with listening to an old Splendid Table podcast with Ming Tsai as the guest talking about the virtues of using a wok.
The first dish I tried was this vegetable stir fry. Loved it.
For my next try, I decided to be adventurous and try deep frying in the wok. I am more than excited about how this chicken turned out, and it was really easy. We served it with rice and a salad, and it was a wonderful meal. The chicken was so incredibly crispy.
Update: February, 2017, four years later! This is still one of my favorite dishes. I've updated the photos for this post for the Year of the Rooster, but left this photo below from my original post. If you follow this blog, you know that I've been stir-frying for four years now! I can't believe this is was my second stir-fry in my wok. Here's one of the original photos.
General Tso's Chicken
About 3 servings if it is the only main course... more if you are serving several dishes (like Chinese takeout!) Adapted with permission from Appetite for China, and The Chinese Takeout Cookbook: Quick and Easy Dishes to Prepare at Home. Here is a link to the original recipe.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs sliced into one inch cubes
1 1/2 C cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 C (for frying) plus 1 T (for stir frying) peanut or vegetable oil (I used peanut)
1/4 generous tsp red chili flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
Scallions, thinly sliced.
1 T soy sauce
1 T Chinese white wine (or dry sherry)
2 egg whites
1/4 C chicken stock or broth
1 1/2 T tomato paste
1 T soy sauce
1 T rice vinegar
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp chili paste
1 tsp sesame oil
1 T sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
- In a large bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients and whisk to dissolve the cornstarch. Set aside.
- In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
- Toss in the marinated chicken pieces to coat with the cornstarch mixture and place the pieces on a plate to "stage" them for frying.
- Heat the three cups of oil in the wok to 350 degrees F.
- In two or three batches (three for me), fry the chicken pieces for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown and fully cooked through.
- Using a spider or slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat.
- Pour the oil into a heat proof container, and wipe out the wok (don't wash it).
- Reheat the wok with 1 T of oil over medium to high heat.
- Add the chili flakes and garlic and cook for 20 seconds.
- Add the sauce and stir until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken pieces and stir until coated with the sauce.
- Place the coated chicken pieces in a serving dish and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and scallions.
Enjoy! I was thrilled with this dish.
Disclosure: For this post, I am joining the Chinese New Year Virtual Pot Luck hosted by Diana Kuan, to celebrate the release of her first cookbook, The Chinese Takeout Cookbook. U.S. based participants in the Chinese New Year Potluck will receive a copy of the book.