You know what food is as (or more) American than apple pie? General Tso’s Chicken!
From Wikipedia: “General Tso’s chicken is a sweet, slightly spicy, deep-fried chicken dish that is popularly served in North American Chinese restaurants. The dish was unknown in China and other lands home to the Chinese diaspora before it was introduced by chefs returning from the United States. The dish is named after General Tso Tsung-tang, a Qing dynasty general and statesman, although there is no recorded connection to him.”
As usual, one of the most popular Asian dishes in America has absolutely nothing to do with Asia. Got it.
That being said, Nathan and I love us some General Tso’s chicken! We don’t get to have it very often because let’s just say that the Chinese take out places in our area are… sketchy. As in, you don’t know if chicken will be the only meat in your order of General Tso’s chicken and the restaurants are probably fronts for smuggling or money laundering. We actually haven’t gotten Chinese takeout or had General Tso’s chicken since we moved to our condo over 2 years ago.
This dire situation had to be remedied so we decided to make our own General Tso’s at home and share the recipe with all of you! I know I say this a lot about various things that we make but this dish is SO much tastier and healthier than any General Tso’s I’ve eaten at a restaurant and it really isn’t that hard! This version is shallow fried instead of deep fried and has a bit less sugar than the traditional take-out. I’m not going to say that this is a ‘30 minute meal’ but it wasn’t much more than that and was really simple to prepare. Another perk of making General Tso’s at home? You can be sure that chicken is the only meat in your chicken! Make this today!
With Asian food I normally choose a slightly sweet rose or white wine. Since this General Tso’s recipe is on the sweeter side, however, I chose to pair this dish with a Pinot Noir…a bit fruity but light and on the drier side. This wine wasn’t anything super special on it’s own but it was a nice pairing although I will say that the wine was just a little bit overwhelmed by the strong flavors of the dish. An ok wine and pairing but I would probably try something different in the future.
While grocery shopping before making our General Tso’s Chicken Katryn and I were stuck going to a grocery store with a pretty mediocre beer selection. There weren’t too many choices other than the usual macro brewed stuff so when I saw Fat Tire I figured it would be far better than any the other alternatives. The best word I can think of to describe Fat Tire’s Amber Ale is ‘average.’ While it is a perfectly drinkable beer there is nothing that stands out about it. Like most amber ales, the sweet caramel malts are the most prominent flavor with some small aroma of hops but not much hop flavor. However average it may be, this beer actually paired really well with the General Tso’s Chicken. The malt flavors cut through the rich sauce, tang, and spice really well to cleanse your palate for the next bite. I think it had a similar effect to many Asian beers such as Chang or Singha that are light but have a lot of malt.
General Tso’s Chicken
Adapted from this recipe
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 large egg white
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon Chinese chile-garlic sauce
5 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying
2 tablespoons very finely chopped fresh ginger
3 large garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Steamed broccoli and white rice, for serving
1. In a medium bowl, combine the toasted sesame oil with the egg white, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch. Add the chicken, stirring to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the chicken broth with the chile-garlic sauce, sugar and the remaining 1/4 cup of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
3. In a large saucepan, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the ginger and garlic and cook over high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir the broth mixture, add it to the pan and cook until thickened and glossy, about 3 minutes. Keep the sauce warm over low heat.
4. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil until around 325-350 degrees (f). Carefully add the chicken, one piece at a time, and fry over high heat, turning once or twice, until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes. Drain the chicken on paper towels and immediately place the chicken in the sauce along with the scallions. Cook just until coated, about 30 seconds. Serve right away, with steamed broccoli and rice.