Thursday, February 16, 2012

General Tsao's Chicken


First of all, I want to tell you that I'm taking a short break to "rest and renew". I'll be back the last week in February with something Egg-citing!

General Tsao's Chicken...Here is a dish I had prepared earlier in the month to honor the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year.  That was until I did a little research on it before posting and found out it's not an authentic Chinese recipe at all! 


It was most likely developed in the United States by a Chinese chef and it became an instant success!


Maybe you have ordered this dish at a Chinese restaurant or ordered it for 'Take Out' at some time - I know we have. The fact that it isn't an authentic recipe direct from Asia doesn't diminish how delicious it tasted!

I will warn you that making this dish as written is a rather lengthy process but well worth the effort.  Please see my notes at the end to see how you can prepare this without deep-frying and also be sure to double the sauce in the recipe.  You won't be sorry :) This would also make a delicious appetizer and could be served as you would mini meatballs.

General Tsao's Chicken

Adapted from Allrecipes
Printable Recipe

Servings: 6

Orange zest and whole dried chiles give the sauce a delightful, restaurant quality flavor.

For the chicken - please see my note below if you wish to avoid the deep fry method*

4 cups vegetable oil for frying
1 egg
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (you may substitute chicken breast)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 pinch white pepper
1 cup cornstarch

For the sauce - please see my note below**

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or olive oil)
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 clove garlic, minced
6 dried whole red chilies
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

Heat 4 cups vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).  Using olive oil for the deep frying would be a slightly healthier option.

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.

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.

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.

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 cooked chicken into the boiling sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook for a few minutes until the chicken absorbs some of the sauce.

Serve with rice or with steamed broccoli, as I did.  Or both!  Top with additional orange zest and thinly sliced green onions, if desired.

*This would taste good with chicken breast cubes, seasoned and sauteed in a little oil without the egg and cornstarch. Simply add the sauteed cubes to the finished sauce as stated above.

**The sauce it so good, I advice doubling the sauce ingredients!

61 comments:

  1. Delicious chicken recipe I am bookmarking it!

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  2. We made this a while back and loved it but it didn't look nearly as good as yours. Bev's been wanting it again, so we'll try your recipe next time. The best part about it was discovering the blanching technique to get the chicken extra crispy.

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  3. Snagging this one for sure. If I am forced to go Chinese, this is what I order. I love it and would love to make it at home. Thank you!

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  4. This is one of our very favorite treat meals here.
    Yours looks and sounds wonderful..You've made me want some tonight..I have chicken out for lemon/caper chicken..I may change my mind:)
    The power of suggestion and a mouth watering pic?:)

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  5. PS..I meant pics:) And how handsome is Mr Mack en rouge:)

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  6. No matter the origin, this is our favorite at Chinese restaurants. Your General Tso looks mouthwateringly delicious. Enjoy your rest and renewal!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  7. This is one of my favorites. Since I did a movie set in a Chinese restaurant in NYC, I haven't set foot in one... it was THAT disturbing. Needless to say, I love Chinese food and just make all my favorites...like this. Love a new recipe for it... it is addictive, isn't it!

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  8. Definitely will be making this and I love the variations like the cubed chicken! Have a great rest, looking forward to your egg-citing next post, have fun :)

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  9. Yum! Thanks for sharing.
    Enjoy your break!

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  10. You outdid yourself with this post! It looks perfect! Very perfect :)

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  11. I have never made General Tsao's Chicken, but I will now-looks delicious. I'm printing your recipe now!
    Enjoy your break.
    -Lynn

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  12. Your General Tsao's Chicken looks great!! I like to make it myself so it won't be as sweet as you get in the restaurants! See you when you get back!

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  13. That looks delicious! I've never had General Tsao's Chicken before as it doesn't seem to be something the Chinese resturants in Australia make.

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  14. Looks delicious...I have never tried making this dish. Have a great break, we all need it once in a while...

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  15. What an interesting history. Quite a bit of what we consider Chinese food is really Americanized versions. I don't think I've ever ordered this in a restaurant. It's nice to know that now I can make it at home.
    Sam

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  16. I've been a fan of this dish in the past but have never tried it at home. It looks delicious. I hope you enjoy your time hitting the "relax" button. I hit the pause button several weeks back and haven't regretted it. Isn't this one of the craziest winters you've ever experienced for this area? happy renewal to you Susan.

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  17. I have never had this! I know my son likes it so much he tried making it a few times for himself, I'll share your recipe! Enjoy your break and come back egg-xatly when you're ready to:@)

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  18. Reminds me of the many many steps to my favorite Chinese Lemon Chicken but well worth it. I haven't tried this one but looks fab!

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  19. We don't have ANY good Chinese good around here so I'm so happy to get this recipe. The sauce alone sounds amazing!

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  20. The General's chicken is one of my favorite take out meals! Yours looks delicious and I'm sure it's better than what comes in the little white cardboard carton. :) I'm bookmarking for the next time I get a craving!

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  21. This looks truly tasty and I never realized it wasn't authentic to Asia. I have a very tough time cooking Asian food (and I don't eat it very often as a consequence), but I love the step-by-step instructions. It give me hope I could actually achieve something resembling your dish!

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  22. lovely recipe and have a lovely break :_)

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  23. From the title it certainly sounds authentic enough! Love it and will try it soon!

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  24. What gorgeous photos of one of my favorite Chinese dishes! Who knew it wasn't really Chinese? LOL

    I've never tried making it at home but I like the idea of being able to control the heat index by doing so. I'm a wimp & have often found the carry-out version too hot. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    fondly,
    Rett

    p.s. Enjoy your little break...we'll be here when you come back.

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  25. Great appetizing; always wanted to try this; thank you for the recipe. Enjoy your break,
    Rita

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  26. Sounds really good! And looks amazing too!

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  27. I know it is not original but it sure tastes great! This dish is in my plans to make soon! Yours Susan looks very appetizing!

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  28. I've had a General Tso's recipe bookmarked for 6 months and haven't taken the time to make it. Your photos have inspired me. I read that too, about it being an American invented dish. Anyway, looks fabulous.

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  29. Authentic or not, it's my husband's favorite Asian dish. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I hope you enjoy your respite - looking forward to your egg-citing return.

    :)
    ButterYum

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  30. It looks wonderful, Susan!
    I do make this without the chilies and with white meat. I add a little powdered mustard instead for a little kick.
    Doesn't matter if it is authentic, as long is it good!
    Enjoy your respite!

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  31. Oh boy does that look delish! This is one of my favorite indulgences but I've never tried to make it at home. I think you just inspired me! Thanks for sharing.

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  32. An in home take-out recipe. Nothing could be better. YUM

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  33. This is a take-out standby that I have never tried to make at home. But with the sauteed version you mention, it would be much healthier than delivery! I'll have to try. Yum!

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  34. I am a real fan of ordering chinnese food I think it's quite tricky to make but I love how you make it look simple and delicious

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  35. chinese is one of the main take outs i order so this recipe will make me save a lot of money! thanks for sharing ;)

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  36. I hope you have a lovely break, Susan! I love all things general tsao...that crispy exterior with the sweet sauce is so good. This looks wonderful!

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  37. Enjoy your mini break!!! I can't understand take time off for R&R. You General Tso's looks amazing - who cares if it's not super authentic. Thanks for posting a non-deep fried method

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  38. Authentic or not, your dish looks so crunchy and delicious. Enjoy your time off...we all need a little R & R at times.

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  39. My youngest loves orange chicken and he would go crazy for this I am sure! Great looking dish...have a nice break :)

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  40. This looks positively fabulous! I'll be giving this a try soon.

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  41. Authentic or not, this is one of my favorite Chinese dishes. I can't wait to try this recipe, Susan, and I'll be using the chicken thighs for sure.

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  42. Oh yum, my favorite-hands down!!

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  43. I LOVE General Tso! This looks absolutely amazing (as does everything on your blog), and I'm going to try it for sure. My husband is a big fan as well, so he'll be thrilled to have a recipe we can make at home.

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  44. Love General Tsao chicken! Your recipe seems a bit different from the one I made years ago. I will have to try it.

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  45. I do love General Tsao's chicken, Susan! This recipe doesn't sound hard at all and I pinned it to try soon. I like that it does not seem to have as much salt added as restaurant or take out style does..a definite plus.

    Enjoy your break!

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  46. I have eaten this and have never made it. It looks delicious! Every once in awhile I do love deep-fried food! Joni

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  47. Wow! Looks so delicious! We love lots of sauce in my house! Enjoy your break!

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  48. Funny it's not authentic, Sam, but it sure looks delicious, and that's what counts.
    Have a nice break!

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  49. This is one of our favorites to order in restaurants. I'll have to give it a try.

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  50. looks and sounds wonderful Susan!Have a nice break, a warm hug...

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  51. This is a favorite dish of mine! I'll have to give it a try. Asian cooking is something I don't do much of . . . don't know why!!! Your dish looks fantastic!

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  52. Susan, this is one of my husband favorite Chinese dish...he always order this dish when he sees it in the menu ;-)
    Thanks for sharing this recipe since I yet have to try to make it at home...
    Hope you are having a fabulous week :)

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  53. My husband and I made this, (the fried version), doubled the sauce, and absolutely loved it. It's going in my list of top favorite meals EVER. Thanks for posting it! Looking forward to trying more and more of your recipes!

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  54. This is some hot dish~my next meal!

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  55. Have a wonderful reat!! I hope to take a break soon, much needed rest allows us to come back with a new sense of energy!! my hubby loves general tsao's chicken.. I am sure he would love to have it at home!

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  56. Thank you all and thank you, Christy, for letting me know you enjoyed it!

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  57. This is one of those guilty pleasures. I love the crispy textures coated with that yummy citrus sauce. So good!

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  58. I was about to comment on your egg post and then I saw this and almost ran to the kitchen to make my own. Looks so delicious!

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  59. Good for you that you took a break! This recipe looks so delicious. My husband always orders this when we get Chinese food. I'm going to have to make this for him very soon. Thanks for sharing.

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