Wednesday, May 23, 2012

General Tso's Chicken

I had planned on writing this post two nights ago but decided to go to bed instead.  Then last night I had plans to write it again but a delayed flight to Columbus for a business trip meant that I didn't get to my hotel til about 10:30pm and I needed to get some sleep before a day long site visit trip.  Tonight, I'm still in Ohio, but this time I got back to the hotel pretty early and finally have time to write about the tasty General Tso's Chicken that we made for Joe's birthday.  We don't often fry things in our house, but Joe really likes fried "Chinese chicken", so several months ago we decided to try making it at home to avoid getting the sometimes questionable chicken from a restaurant.  We first tried making a knock-off recipe of Panda Express Orange Chicken and it was pretty good and easy to make.  Then I saw this recipe for General Tso's Chicken on a blog called Brown Eyed Baker and it looked even more delicious than the orange chicken.  I showed it to Joe and he decided that he wanted it for his birthday, so on the menu it went!

The recipe basically  has 3 parts.  First a marinade that you use for the chicken.  Then you use some of the marinade to cook and thicken into a sauce.  The third part is coating and frying the chicken.  The secret to this awesome coating is that you mix a little of the remaining marinade into the dry ingredients so that it fries into a really nice crunch.  Joe was the master fryer which is good because I'm kind of afraid of a big pot of hot oil.

So if you're like Joe and you love "Chinese chicken", but you don't want to get the slightly sketchy take-out, then try this recipe!  I think it would probably be good with just about any sauce, even just a bottle of your favorite kind.  Here's the recipe!

General Tso's Chicken
From: Brown Eyed Baker

For the marinade & sauce:
- 1/2 c. Hoisin Sauce
- 1/4 c. white vinegar
- 3 T. soy sauce
- 3 T. sugar
- 2 T. corn starch
- 1 1/2 c. water
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" pieces (I only used 2)
- 1 T. oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T. grated fresh ginger (I used about 1 teaspoon of dried ground ginger)
- 1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes

For coating & frying
- 3 egg whites
- 1 1/2 c. corn starch
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 4 c. vegetable oil (for frying)

1. To make the marinade, combine the Hoisin sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, corn starch and water in a medium bowl and whisk to combine and dissolve corn starch.  Place 6 tablespoons of this mixture in a large ziploc bag and add the chicken pieces.  Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  (I only did it for about 10 minutes because I was in a hurry and it was still delicious.)

2. While the chicken is in the fridge, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet and add the ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Saute until fragrant, a.k.a. your kitchen starts to smell really good :)  Add 2 cups of the remaining marinade to the skillet and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened.  Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm.

3. To make the coating for the chicken, combine the cornstarch, flour and baking soda in a medium bowl, and stir to combine.  Then add the remaining marinade and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Place the egg whites in a shallow bowl and whisk until foamy.

4. Take the marinated chicken out of the fridge, remove the pieces from the bag and pat them dry with a paper towel.  Place about half of the chicken in the egg whites them place them into the coating mixture and mix them around to be sure they are evenly coated.  Set those pieces aside on a plate and repeat that process with the remaining chicken pieces.

5. Once all the chicken is ready to be fried, heat the 4 cups of oil in a large pot to about 350 degrees.  Place several of the chicken pieces in the oil and cook until golden brown.  Turning each piece after a couple minutes.  Once they're evenly cooked, remove the pieces from the oil and place on a plate with a paper towel.  Then repeat until all the chicken is cooked.

My own personal Fry Daddy at work :)

Golden brown perfection.

6. Warm the sauce in the skillet until it is simmering and add the chicken.  Gently stir it until all the chicken is coated.  Serve over rice.  Enjoy!

Joe wanted his broccoli tossed with the sauce as well.  I kept mine plain.

This chicken was soooo good!  Oh, and here's a little idea of how the dinner food usually gets split up at our house.  I take what I want for dinner, and Joe takes the rest :)

Joe didn't actually eat everything on that plate, but he made a pretty serious dent in it.

Joe was ready to eat and didn't want anymore pictures taken of his food.

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