General Tso's Chicken

General Tso's Chicken.jpg

General Tso’s Chicken is one of my favorite homemade Chinese food recipes that is perfect for a weeknight or weekend dinner. It takes about 15 minutes to prep, and 20 minutes to cook, making it simple to whip up, super satisfying, much healthier DIY version as opposed to eating REAL Chinese food out since you know what’s going into it, and makes for great leftovers - if you don’t eat it all up. The recipe is inspired by Chinese cook book Every Grain of Rice, by Fuchsia Dunlop with a few modifications. 

While many Asian dishes call for canola oil (because it can withstand high cooking temperatures + is relatively inexpensive, however usually highly modified, therefore not the healthiest), I replaced the cooking oil with grass-fed ghee, which can be used as a healthier high heat fry oil. My favorite soy sauce, is Ohsawa Organic Nama Shoyu, which is one of the healthiest brand I’ve seen on the market that is organic, unpasteurized, raw, soy-free, vegan, low-sodium, and non-gmo. If you have soy/gluten sensitivities, you may also experiment with replacing the soy sauces with organic coconut aminos instead. If you’re looking to modify the dark soy sauce for a soy/gluten free alternative, this video shows you how to do that using water, wheat free soy sauce, and brown sugar.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 boneless chicken thighs

  • 6-10 small dried red chilies

  • Cooking oil, for deep-frying

  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger

  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic

  • 2 tsp sesame oil

  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced spring onion greens (optional)

For marinade/batter

  • 2tsp light soy sauce

  • ½ tsp dark soy sauce

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 2 tbsp potato flour

  • 2tsp cooking oil

For the sauce

  • 1tbs tomato puree mixed with 1tbs water

  • ½ tsp potato flour

  • ½ tsp dark soy sauce

  • 1 ½ tsp light soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar

  • 3tbsp chicken stock or water

DIRECTIONS:

Unfold the chicken thighs and lay them skin down on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to make a few shallow crisscross cuts into the meat (to help the flavors penetrate). Then cut each thigh into 1 ½-1 ¾ in (3-4cm) slices, an uneven 1/8 in (1/2 cm) or so in thickness. Place slices in a bowl.

For the marinade 
Add the soy sauces and egg yolk to the chicken and mix wellThen stir in the potato flour, and lastly the oilSet aside while you prepare the other ingredients. 

Combine the sauce ingredients into a small bowl. Use a pair of scissors to snip the chilies into ¾ in (2cm) sections, discarding seeds as far as possible.

Heat wok (I used my favorite Le Creuset Dutch oven, which are well worth the investment) over a high flame. Pour in the deep-frying oil and heat to 350-400 F (180-200 C). Add the chicken and fry until crisp and golden. If you are deep-frying in a wok with relatively small volume of oil, fry the chicken in a couple of batches. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour the oil into a heatproof container and clean the wok if necessary.

Return the wok to a high flame. Add 2-3 tbsp cooking oil and the chilies and stir-fry briefly until they are fragrant and just chancing color, but be sure not to burn them. Toss in the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds longer until you can smell their aromas. Then add the sauce and stir as it thickens. Return the chicken to the wok and stir vigorously to coat the pieces in the sauce. Stir in the sesame oil, top with spring onion greens if desired, and serve. Pair with white rice and your favorite steamed vegetable!