General Tso’s Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken is an absolute triumph, packed full of heat, sourness, saltiness and (even though I’m not entirely sure where it comes from) sweetness! Maybe this stems from the vinegar and tomato reducing with the ginger but I really don’t know! It also has that amazing texture of crunchy and sticky that you get is a lot of authentic Chinese cooking. General Tso’s Chicken is actually a Chinese-American dish but is full of Chinese flavours and techniques.
I have been cooking a lot of authentic Chinese food lately and I cannot tell you the vast difference between it and that which you get in the Chinese take-away, or at least the take-aways here in Ireland.
This is perfect dinner party food as it is first hugely impressive and delicious, but also because, like so much Chinese food, it requires a bit of prep that can be done in advance but the cooking of it actually takes no time at all! Definitely not long enough for you to leave your party guests and have them thinking you’re having a breakdown in the kitchen.

Just don’t have it too often. If there was in fact a General Tso, I couldn’t imagine he’d have cut an enviable silhouette with a dish like this named after him.

General Tso’s Chicken

Ingredients

    For the marinade:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • half a tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp potato flour (or plain flour)
  • For the Chicken:
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped into bitesize pieces
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 4 tbsp water or chicken stock
  • half a tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 .5 tsp light soy sauce
  • half a tsp of flour
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely grated
  • 6-10 dried whole chillies, seeds removed
  • 500 ml of vegetable oil or enough for deep frying
  • 2 tsp sesame seed oil
  • green part of 1 spring onion

Instructions

  1. To make the marinade, mix together the yolk, soy sauces, vegetable oil and flour until a paste is formed. You can add a little extra light soy sauce if it is too thick to coat the chicken.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. To make that sauce, mix together the tomato puree, water (or stock), soy sauces, flour and vinegar and set aside.
  4. Cut the tops off the chillies and tip out the seeds. Then snip them up with a scissors.
  5. Heat the oil for deep frying to 180 degrees celsius. Use a candy thermometer or when it's hot, add a cub of bread and if it goes brown quickly then it is hot enough.
  6. Add half the chicken pieces to the oil, stirring them to stop them from sticking together. Fry for 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
  7. Transfer the chicken to a plate lined with kitchen paper and repeat with the second half of the chicken pieces.
  8. Once all the chicken is cooked and draining on the kitchen paper, heat a large frying pan or wok and transfer 3 or 4 tablespoons of the frying oil into it.
  9. Once the oil is hot add the chopped chillies and stir fry for just a minute or two until they become really aromatic.
  10. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for just 30 seconds until they become aromatic.
  11. Pour in the sauce and stir until it has thickened.
  12. Add in the crispy chicken pieces and stir until the chicken is completely coated in the thick, sticky sauce and has warmed through.
  13. Finish by drizzling over the sesame seed oil, stir it in, transfer the chicken to a serving bowl and stop over the spring onion green to garnish.
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