Wednesday, February 12, 2014

General Tsao's Chicken

General Tsao's Chicken

When my relatives from Asia visited the Chinese restaurant I work at , they were quite amused by what we served. Never had they encountered things like fried ice-cream, fortune cookies or stuff cooked in sweet chilli sauce. It was to them, like a completely different cuisine!

I got the same kind of amusement when I discovered General Tsao's chicken (when searching for a tasty chicken recipe) and subsequently, plenty of other Westernised Asian dishes we don't serve in Australia. Not surprisingly, it's quite akin to sweet and sour pork only better because it tastes less fake and has a greater depth of flavour (with the slightest hint of orange as well). It's ridiculously easy, as I baked instead of fried, and my family loved it so much that it's definitely going to be appearing regularly on our dinner repertoire! :)

General Tsao's Chicken
recipe from here

4 cups vegetable oil for frying (I omitted as I baked)
1 egg
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 pinch white pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 clove garlic, minced
6 dried whole red chilies (I omitted as we don't like things too spicy)
1 strip orange zest
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

1. Heat 4 cups vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). I skipped this step as I baked instead of fried.
2. Beat the egg in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken cubes; sprinkle with salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and white pepper; mix well. Mix in 1 cup of cornstarch a little bit at a time until the chicken cubes are well coated.
3. In batches, carefully drop the chicken cubes into the hot oil one by one, cooking until they turns golden brown and begin to float, about 3 minutes. Remove the chicken and allow to cool as you fry the next batch. Once all of the chicken has been fried, refry the chicken, starting with the batch that was cooked first. Cook until the chicken turns deep golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. I put it all in the oven at 180degC and baked it for around 30 minutes, turning half way
4. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Stir in the green onion, garlic, whole chiles, and orange zest. Cook and stir a minute or two until the garlic has turned golden and the chiles brighten. Add 1/2 cup sugar, the ginger, chicken broth, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and peanut oil; bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.
5. Dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into the water, and stir into the boiling sauce. Return to a boil and cook until the sauce thickens and is no longer cloudy from the cornstarch, about 1 minute. Stir the chicken into the boiling sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook for a few minutes until the chicken absorbs some of the sauce.



16 comments:

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Yum this looks so tasty, especially considering you baked it!

Erica said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! This looks absolutely delicious!

Lia Teixeira said...

This chicken looks so scrumptious and finger licking and what a funny name for it!
Cheers,
Lia.

sprinklesandsauce said...

yeay! this is one of our must order items on the chinese restaurant menue!

Anonymous said...

You said you baked yours, what temp and for how long? Did you bake them on rack? They look awesome!

Von said...

@anon: Thanks for visiting my blog :) I baked mine at 180degC for about 30 minutes but the time will vary depending on the size of your chicken pieces. I baked them on a tray with baking paper to prevent them from sticking, and turned them all around at the halfway point to make sure both sides are crispy. They do soften considerably when you cook it with the sauce though. Hope this helps!

Bev Giles said...

I love your recipes and would love to print them. But whenever I try, I get everything on the page going to my printer. I kept looking for a print button but didn't see one. Am I just it? thanks for the help!!

Von said...

@Bev: Thanks! :) I don't have any printable recipes at the moment (as I'm terrible with technology stuff haha) so I think the only way you can print it without all the other stuff, is to copy the recipe and paste it onto word or something....sorry!

CQUEK said...

i think i need two bowl of rice. yummy!

Angie Schneider said...

This is a favourite, Von. You did an excellent job creating this American Chinese classic.

Amy said...

what a yummy dish packed with wonderful flavors. I agree, I found many westernized Asian dishes in U.S restaurants that aren't popular in Asia. But I simply adore the combo of sweet and sour flavor in many of them. :)

Joanne said...

I think we all accept that Chinese restaurant food is NOTHING like real Chinese food! But that doesn't make it any less tasty!

Christina H said...

Looks and sounds delish except for the sesame oil. My daughter is allergic to sesame, nuts and peanuts. What's the worse that could happen by omitting the sesame oil? Is there an alternate?

Sugar et al said...

This is a huge favourite of mine! But I don't remember eating it or coming across the dish in Sydney. I don't believe you baked it and yet it looks absolutely delicious. Like stir fried. Yummm!

Julie said...

Hi Von! I actually really like Westernised Chinese food, even though I know it's not authentic! Your recipe looks really tasty, and I especially love that you baked the chicken. Definitely trying this one for dinner!

Von said...

@Christina: Sorry about the late reply! I think the recipe would do fine without the sesame oil, you could substitute it with peanut oil instead. You can barely taste it since it's flavours are overshadowed by the sweet and sourness of the sauce :) Hope this helps!

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