General Tso’s Chicken
Sweet, salty and tangy, General Tso’s chicken is imbued with complex flavors and interesting textures. Surprisingly, despite being a popular take-out dish in Chinese restaurants in America, General Tso’s chicken does not appear to be a Chinese dish at all. And the thing that intrigues many cooks? How the crisp coating of the chicken stays that way even after soaking in the sauce. The trick? Starch, twice added at different stages of the cooking.
- 10 skinless chicken thigh fillets
- 1 whole egg or 2 egg whites, beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch or corn or potato starch
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons Chinese rice wine
- 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
To complete the dish
- ½ cup tapioca starch or corn or potato starch
- 2 to 3 cups cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic about 4 cloves
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- ½ to ¾ cup roasted cashew nuts
- 2 to 3 bird's eye chilies finely chopped
- sliced scallions for ganish
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- Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.
- Add the chicken to the prepared marinade. Mix well. Cover the bowl and keep in the fridge for a few hours.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. When you see fine wisps of smoke appear along the edges of the wok, the oil is ready. Don’t wait until the oil is smoking profusely — it will be too hot by then.
- Dredge each chicken piece in corn starch and drop in the hot oil.
- Fry the chicken in batches, six or so pieces at a time, so as not to overcrowd the pan which will result in a drastic temperature drop. You don’t want that to happen because the chicken will cook in steam instead of frying.
- Drain the cooked chicken on kitchen paper.
- Pour off the oil until only about 2 tablespoonfuls remain (or use a clean wok). Add the ginger, garlic, cashew nuts and chilies, and cook over high heat, stirring, until very fragrant.
- Pour in the sauce and bring to the boil.
- Add the chicken pieces. Toss to coat each piece with sauce. Turn off the heat.
- Transfer to a platter and garnish with scallions. Serve at once.
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