When my relatives from Asia visited the Chinese restaurant I work at , they were quite amused by what we served. Never had they encountered things like fried ice-cream, fortune cookies or stuff cooked in sweet chilli sauce. It was to them, like a completely different cuisine!
I got the same kind of amusement when I discovered General Tsao’s chicken (when searching for a tasty chicken recipe) and subsequently, plenty of other Westernised Asian dishes we don’t serve in Australia. Not surprisingly, it’s quite akin to sweet and sour pork only better because it tastes less fake and has a greater depth of flavour (with the slightest hint of orange as well). It’s ridiculously easy, as I baked instead of fried, and my family loved it so much that it’s definitely going to be appearing regularly on our dinner repertoire! 🙂
General Tsao’s Chicken
recipe from here
4 cups vegetable oil for frying (I omitted as I baked)
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 pinch white pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 clove garlic, minced
6 dried whole red chilies (I omitted as we don’t like things too spicy)
1 strip orange zest
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1. Heat 4 cups vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). I skipped this step as I baked instead of fried.
2. Beat the egg in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken cubes; sprinkle with salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and white pepper; mix well. Mix in 1 cup of cornstarch a little bit at a time until the chicken cubes are well coated.
3. In batches, carefully drop the chicken cubes into the hot oil one by one, cooking until they turns golden brown and begin to float, about 3 minutes. Remove the chicken and allow to cool as you fry the next batch. Once all of the chicken has been fried, refry the chicken, starting with the batch that was cooked first. Cook until the chicken turns deep golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. I put it all in the oven at 180degC and baked it for around 30 minutes, turning half way
4. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Stir in the green onion, garlic, whole chiles, and orange zest. Cook and stir a minute or two until the garlic has turned golden and the chiles brighten. Add 1/2 cup sugar, the ginger, chicken broth, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and peanut oil; bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.
5. Dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into the water, and stir into the boiling sauce. Return to a boil and cook until the sauce thickens and is no longer cloudy from the cornstarch, about 1 minute. Stir the chicken into the boiling sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook for a few minutes until the chicken absorbs some of the sauce.