I love Buffalo wings. I love Asian food. I love fried chicken.
It should come as no surprise then that when I made a version of General Tso’s chicken from Saveur this weekend that I loved it as well. The recipe took some time to prepare as there were a fair number of steps, but none of it was particularly difficult. The two pitfalls I think would be easiest to fall into on this would be not getting the garlic and ginger chopped finely enough as well as not getting the oil hot enough.
I didn’t get my ginger super fine which led to a couple of bites that were particularly zesty, but using a small food processor would remedy that if your knife skills are like mine (could use some improvement). Getting the oil hot enough is key to preventing the coating from absorbing too much oil and giving you that sick tummy feeling.
The recipe is below and can be found at the following link: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Classic-General-Tso-Chicken
Don’t sweat riffing on the recipe if you want as this is not exactly a classic dish (even then you probably should not fret) as there are multiple claims on the dish’s origin, but they seem to agree that the dish was “invented” in the 1970s.
I recommend the Saveur website to anyone who is looking for some great recipes. They tend to be more involved that most recipes, but the outcome is usually awesome.
1.25 cups of chicken stock
7 tbsp. cornstarch
6 tbsp. rice vinegar
6 tbsp. tomato paste
5 tbsp. light soy sauce
4.5 tsp. dark soy sauce
2.25 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1½″ cubes
3.5 cups plus 9 tbsp. peanut oil
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp. minced ginger
2 tbsp. minced garlic
16 chiles de arbol
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1. Whisk stock, 1 tbsp. cornstarch, vinegar, tomato paste, 3 tbsp. light soy sauce, 1 tbsp. dark soy sauce, and 3 tbsp. water in a bowl; set aside
2. Place remaining cornstarch, both soy sauces, 3 tbsp. peanut oil, and egg yolks in a bowl; combine and then coat the chiken. Pour 3½ cups peanut oil in a pot heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 375°. Fry the chicken until crispy and done, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towels; set aside. Discard oil; wipe pot clean.
3. Return pot to high heat, and add remaining peanut oil. Add ginger, garlic, and chiles; fry, stirring constantly, until fragrant and chiles begin to change color, about 30 seconds. Add sauce from step 1; cook until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and toss constantly for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sesame oil. Transfer to a serving plate; top with scallions if you want to add a little color.