General Tso's Chicken / by Anthony Michael Contrino

 Photo by Matt Wagemann 

Photo by Matt Wagemann 

Even though Chinese New Year festivities are winding down, the celebration continues - at least in my kitchen.  With Chinese food being so affordable in the US, it's no wonder most would rather order it than make it.  So, I challenge you to make this General Tso's Chicken recipe.  It is bursting with flavor and will make you think twice the next time you go to pick up the phone to order some.

 

General Tso’s Chicken

Serves 6

 

For the chicken:

2 egg whites

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. brown sugar

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

¾ cup cornstarch

1 tsp. baking powder

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed

Vegetable oil, for frying

White rice, for serving

Scallions, sliced, for serving 

 

For the sauce:

¼ cup peanut oil

2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

¼ cup scallions, chopped

½ cup sugar

1 tsp. ginger, grated on a microplane

¼ cup chicken broth

1 tbsp. sake

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tbsp. sesame oil

2 tbsp. cornstarch

 

In a bowl, whisk the whites until frothy.  Add the salt, brown sugar and black pepper and whisk to combine.  Add the chicken and toss to coat in the whites.  Add the cornstarch and baking powder and toss to combine.  The mixture will become tacky.

Bring 4 cups of vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a frying pan or wok.  Carefully drop the chicken pieces, one at a time, into the hot oil and cook in batches until the chicken is golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, make the sauce.  In a small saucepant, combine the peanut oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and scallions.  Cook over medium-high heat until the garlic begins to fry. Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves.  Add the ginger, chicken broth, sake, soy sauce and sesame oil and stir to combine.  In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water; mix to create a slurry.  Add the slurry to the sauce and bring to a boil.  Cook for 2 minutes.

Toss the chicken in the sauce and serve over white rice.  Garnish with chopped scallions.