Friday, May 15, 2015

Homemade General Tso's

A favorite Chinese food takeout dish...I set out to discover whether or not it was possible to create this delicious food without MSG (or any other mysterious ingredients) in a home kitchen. After a few tries, I believe I have been successful! It also has this richness which the normal stuff just cannot match.

Serve it with some delicious Botan rice(and maybe a vegetable or two) and there you have it!

Ingredients for sauce:

1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh minced garlic
3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 cup sweet white wine or sake

1  cup hot broth or stock
1-2 tsp chili pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)
2 tsp. Sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/4 cup cornstarch, blended with 1/4 cup water
Chopped scallions (optional)

Ingredients for chicken:

2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, excess fat removed, cut into bite-sized chunks (can use steak tips or pork for this, too)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (it's packed full of umami flavor! Don't skip)
1 egg
1/2 cup cornstarch

Vegetable or canola oil (for frying)

Blend the sauce ingredients together, except the cornstarch mixture--keep that separate. Set aside.

Blend your meat ingredients together until fully coated and set aside. Heat about 1/5-2 inches of oil in a pot or high-sided pan over medium-high heat (the deeper the oil, the faster the cook time). Be sure the temperature rises to 375F with a kitchen thermometer. Don't let it get any hotter! 

Begin to add your chicken to the oil in batches, being careful that the pieces don't stick together. Each batch should hold about 6-9 chicken pieces, depending on the size of your pot. Once you add them in, check your thermometer. The temperature will have dropped to about 325-350F. Raise the temperature carefully back up to 375 while the batch is cooking. Once the pieces are a deep, golden brown (about 3-5 minutes), drain on a pan covered in paper towel. Repeat with the rest of the chicken. 

Once all of the meat is cooked, take your pot of hot oil off of the heat to cool down. Then, preheat a wok or non-stick pan to medium-high. Pour in your sauce and bring it to a simmer. Pour in about half of your cornstarch mixture and cook down until it begins to thicken. If you want it thicker, add the rest of your cornstarch mixture. Once you've got a thick, but still pour-able, sauce, add your fried chicken into the wok and toss. Sprinkle in chopped scallions to garnish.

Serve with rice and (maybe) some broccoli!

(My version with beef)

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