I love Asian food. With all it’s complexities, delicate balance of flavours and textures, it’s a truly remarkable and varied cuisine.
I equally love, however, Asian food that isn’t really Asian food. You know, the stuff that if you know anything about real Asian food, is kind of a guilty pleasure, because you know you’re secretly being judged if you order it in a restaurant. Lemon chicken. Sweet and sour pork. All that really good stuff, that’s really bad. Omnomnom.
Well, today, that was exactly what I wanted. Fasian food, in all it’s fake Asian glory.
I found a recipe for General Tso’s chicken. I figured, why not?
Legend has it, that this was General Tso’s (a Chinese military leader and statesman in the 1800’s) favourite dish.
This is a load of bollocks. It was probably introduced to the Americans in the 70’s. But, living to my motto of “if it tastes good, eat it”, historical inaccuracies don’t have too much impact on my appetite.
This recipe teaches a nifty little technique championed by the Japanese, shallow frying the chicken until crispy, and then seasoning in a flavoured liquid. The meat loses a little of its crispiness in this process, but it absorbs all these amazing flavours instead, so everybody wins.
General Tso’s Chicken
Adapted from Kokocooks
½ c hoisin sauce
¼ c white vinegar
3 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs cornflour
1 ½ c water
1 Tbs vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Coating and frying
1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large eggs
1 ½ c flour
Vegetable oil for frying
2 green onions, green parts thinly sliced
To make the sauce, whisk together the hoisin sauce, white vinegar, soy sauce, cornflour, and water in a bowl. Set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the hoisin mixture. Stir until the sauce is dark brown and has thickened. Remove from heat and cover.
Cut chicken into 1-inch chunks. Whisk the egg in a shallow dish. Season flour in a separate shallow dish with salt and pepper, if desired. Toss half the chicken into the egg until well coated, and then dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, making all sides are coated. Transfer chicken to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken.
Heat oil in a fryer or a large wok. Fry the chicken in batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning pieces over halfway through cooking. Transfer cooked chicken to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
Re-warm the sauce over medium heat until bubbling. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat. Garnish with sliced green onions. Serve with rice/noodles.
It’s perfect in it’s crispy/salty/saucy/fasian goodness.