I have to be honest that this is not a dish that is wildly known in China. The story behind it is quite interesting. If you want to know, there is a documentary about it. The name is called Search for General Tsao. You can watch that later. Now you’re gonna stick with me and learn how to make this dish better than your local take out.
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General Tso's Chicken
Ingredients for the chicken marinade [Serve 4-5 people]
Ingredients for the sauce [This sauce is only enough for half of the chicken. Make sure you double the amount if you want to cook all at once.]
- Oil to deep fry
- Cilantro for garnish
- Toasted sesame seed to add at the end
- Cut the chicken into big chunks. It is better to use boneless chicken leg with the skin on.
- Then marinate it with 1.5 tsp of salt, 3/4 tsp of black pepper, 2 tsp of soy sauce, 1 egg yolk. Egg yolk contains a certain amount of fat, which will make the chicken extra crispy. Cover it. Let that sit for about 15 minutes.
- While waiting, combine 2/3 cup of cornstarch, 2/3 cup of all-purpose flour together. Cornstarch is another trick to make the chicken crispy. If you only use all-purpose flour, the outside layer will be a bit doughy.
- Put all the chicken into a big container and dump the flour mixture to cover the chicken. Put on the lid and Give it a few good shakes. Then put the chicken pieces in a sieve and shake off the excess flour. This is an easier and faster trick to coat the meat with flour.
- Heat the oil to 350 I am using soybean oil. You can use any high smoke point oil.
- Put in the chicken one by one. Let it fry for a minute or 2 so the surface can form up a little. Then you can flip them over so they cook evenly. After 4 or 5 minutes, the outside layer should be slightly golden and crispy. Now is the time to take it out. Let them rest for about 15 minutes.
- We are going to fry the chicken again. Double frying it to make sure the crispy outside layer stays longer. If you have guest coming, you can fry the second time right before serving.
- Fish out the small particles that are left in the oil. Heat it to 370Fry the chicken for a minute or Once they are beautifully golden brown, you can take them out.
- Now we can make the sauce. In a sauce bowl, combine 4.5 tbsp of sugar, 1/2 tsp of cornstarch, 2.5 tbsp of chinese black vinegar, 1 tbsp +2 tsp of soy sauce, 3.5 tbsp of water together.
- Besides that, prepare some dried hot chilies. (The chef who invented this dish, he is from Hunan province. Hunan is one of the places in china where people are obsessed with chilies. So just a little spicy kick.
- Heat up your wok, add a tsp of oil, some grated garlic, grated ginger, and the dried chilies. Start with low heat. Stir and saute them. We want to toast the chilies until it is slightly smoky, you should be able to smell it. Pour in the sauce. [Note: The sauce amount I gave is only enough for half of the chicken. Make sure you double the amount if you use the full recipe]. Cook the sauce on medium heat until it becomes a thin syrup texture. Then you can add the chicken. Toss everything until the chicken is coated nicely. And you are ready to serve. Add half tsp of sesame seeds for some nutty taste. Top a little bit of cilantro for presentation.
- Even though we don’t eat this dish in china because it wasn’t invented in mainland china, as a chinese, I will say, it is a perfect mix of all kind of flavors. It is sweet, crispy outside, tender inside. Has some nice spicy kick which is very familiar because I grew up with those smoked hot chili peppers. I really like that little touch of sourness because it balances out all the flavors. I hope you give this a try soon.