General Tso's chicken is a Chinese dish that is probably more popular in Western countries than in China. It has been speculated that it is probably a Western invention as it is unknown in its supposed country of origin.
It was in fact introduced in New York City as an example of Hunan cuisine. The difference from the original dish is the addition of sugar to make it more appealing to the Western palate.
General Tso's chicken is very similar to a lot of Chinese dishes; it has the characteristic sweet and tangy taste that is so desired in Chinese cuisine. A slight twist, the addition of hoisin sauce, gives it a slightly different flavour.
The most distinct feature of General Tso's chicken is the amount of heat in both spice and temperature. This gives it an exciting edge that makes one want more of it. Aside from chilli paste or oil, dried chillies are added to the glaze. The former gives a uniform heat to the dish while the dried chillies gives spurts of extra heat and spice. General Tso's chicken is very appetizing and only needs steamed rice to make a satisfying meal.
Adapted from Apetite for China's recipe for General Tso's Chicken.
Ingredients for the chicken and marinade:
1 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tbsp. Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 egg white
1 tsp. corn flour (corn starch)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 c. corn flour (corn starch)
cooking oil for frying
Mix the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, egg white and 1 tsp. of corn flour in a mixing bowl. Add in the chicken pieces and mix well.
Leave aside for 10 minutes. Prepare the rest of the ingredients in the meantime.
Dredge the chicken pieces in the corn flour.
Heat up a frying pan and add oil for shallow frying (about 1 1/2inch deep). Fry the chicken pieces, a few at a time until crisp and golden, about 4-5 minutes.
Ingredients for the sauce:
1/4 c. chicken stock or water
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. of hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp. of chilli paste (or chilli oil)
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 tbsps. of honey
1 tsp. of corn flour (corn starch)
Mix all of the ingredients together and set aside.
Stir fry ingredients:
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
2-4 dried chillies, halved
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
2 tbsps. sliced spring onions (green parts only)
Heat up a clean wok and add in 1 tbsp. of oil (you may use the oil previously used for frying the chicken). When hot, add in the garlic, chillies and fry for a few seconds.
Add in the sauce mixture. Bring to a boil while stirring until thickened.
Add the fried chicken pieces and toss until all the pieces are coated with the sauce.
Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with spring onions and toasted sesame seeds.
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