|General Tso's Chicken|
The May issue of Food and Wine contained a recipe for DSO's favorite Chinese food, so what could I do? While very little frying goes on in The Food of Love kitchen, I put aside my prejudices for this one meal and was quite pleased with the results. I cut back on the sugar and the oil, in part for health reasons and also because I don't like sweet, greasy food and used chicken breasts instead of thighs since I had them on hand. As with most Chinese cooking, the key is in the preparation. Having everything chopped, diced, and measured out means dinner is on the table in under 30 minutes--it would be sooner, but that's how long the rice needs to cook. Here is the version I prepared:
1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 large egg white
1/4 cup plus 1 tbs soy sauce
1/4 cup plus 3 tbs cornstarch
3 - 4 tbs water
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 tbs Thai chili garlic sauce or Chinese chili garlic sauce (this was nicely spicy; adjust to taste)
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs vegetable oil plus more for frying (about 3 tbs)
2 tbs very finely chopped fresh ginger
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
steamed broccoli and white rice as accompaniments
In a medium bowl, combine the toasted sesame oil, the egg white, 1 tbs of the soy sauce, and 1/4 cup plus 2 tbs of the cornstarch; add just enough water to make a thick paste; add the chicken, stirring to coat and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the chicken broth with the chili garlic sauce, sugar, and remaining 1/4 cup of soy sauce and 1 tbs cornstarch.
In a large saucepan, heat the 1 tbs of oil. Add the ginger and garlic and cook over high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir the broth mixture and add it to the pan, cooking until thickened and glossy, about 3 minutes. Keep the sauce warm over low heat.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the remaining oil until shimmering. Carefully add the chicken, one piece at a time, turning once or twice until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Drain each batch on paper towels, then add to the sauce along with the scallions. Cook until coated and serve immediately with rice and steamed broccoli.