Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Guest Post: General Tso's Chicken

Today I've invited my friend Emily to guest post for me.  You'll probably recognize her drool worthy photography from some of my Dinner Club posts as well as our recent Apple Extravaganza from October.  I'm always envious of her skills both in the kitchen and behind the lens.  She's an amazing person and I'm so glad to have her as a friend.  Hopefully this won't be the last that you see of Emily on this blog ;).

If you'd like to guest post, please leave a comment!

 This officially marks my first food blog post. Ever. Seriously. I’ve taken hundreds of photos of food I’ve cooked…and baked….and grilled….and, sometimes, when I’m feeling rebellious, even fried. But, never once written a blog post. So, as you can imagine I was a bit reluctant to take Christine up on her offer for a guest post, but I’m not one to turn down trying new things. Especially those food-related.

The recipe I’m sharing with you all today is quite the standard: General Tso’s Chicken. I’m sure this one has been done a hundred thousand times over, across blogs, recipe sites and the like. Heck, I would argue that this dish has been over done. However, the reasons I wanted to post this are two-fold:

First, I’m generally anti-fry. I’m more or less a border-line health nut about 80% of the week (the other 20%? Well, that’s what weekends are for!), making this recipe fall squarely outside of my comfort zone. I confess, we own a Fry Daddy (I blame the husband!), but require it never be used inside. There are few things that will make my stomach turn, but waking up to a kitchen with the lingering odor of a McDonald’s only results in my being overcome by the urge to shower. Or exercise. A lot.

Good news! This recipe does NOT require a Fry Daddy. Seriously, nothing ever should. And, yet….
Second, I was quite frankly blown away by the end result. It was border-line restaurant comparable. I’m not kidding. Let’s just say the husband put this recipe in his Top 5, and mandated it have a regular appearance in “The Rotation.” On one condition: that I continue to keep his plate broccoli-free (you see what I have to deal with?). 

And now, for the main event….

General Tso’s Chicken
General Tso’s Chicken

  • 1-½ teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 whole Large Egg White
  • ¼ cups Plus 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1 pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • Canola, Peanut, Or Vegetable Oil For Frying
  • Flour to coat the chicken (1/2 - 1 cup, depending on desired coating)
  • 1 Tablespoon Peanut, Canola Or Vegetable Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Peeled And Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Ginger Root
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth Or Stock
  •  ¼ cups Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese Chile-garlic Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar. (The original recipe calls for Raw (turbinado Or Demerara) Sugar, but I’m not sure it matters either way)
  •  4 whole Scallions, Thinly Sliced
  • Steamed Rice (we’re partial to sushi rice, but I’m sure this would taste phenomenal with sawdust, so it matters not!)
  • Steamed Broccoli
Preparation Instructions

  1. Prep your chicken: In a mixing bowl, stir together the sesame oil, soy sauce, egg white, and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cornstarch until a thick slurry forms. It will look gummy but smooth. Add the chicken pieces and stir until all are evenly coated. At first it may appear that it will not come together but it does! Set chicken aside, covered lightly with plastic wrap, at room temperature for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Begin the sauce: Add the tablespoon of oil to a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat. Stir the garlic and ginger into the oil and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining sauce ingredients until smooth. Pour into the garlic and ginger, stirring, until the sauce becomes thick and shiny. Once the sauce thickens, lower heat and keep the saucepan over a low burner partially covered to stay warm.
  3. To fry the chicken: Heat 1/2-inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed, high-sided frying pan or skillet over high heat. In the meantime, add the flour to your coated chicken, mixing everything together. When the oil is shimmering, add one piece of chicken at a time, taking care not to crowd the pan. Cook chicken for 4 minutes on each side, or until deep golden brown and crisp on both sides.
  4. Transfer the fried chicken to a paper towel lined plate and repeat the process until you’ve cooked all the chicken. Then slide all of the fried chicken into the prepared sauce and toss to coat. (If desired, add some steamed broccoli to coat with the sauce also.) Increase the heat to medium, stir and cook just until hot all the way through.
  5. Sprinkle with sliced scallions and serve immediately over white rice. Or brown rice. Or sushi rice. You get the idea.
Source: Adapted from Rebecca at on Tasty Kitchen (Original Recipe)

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