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Authentic Vietnamese recipes from the Motherland

General Tso Chicken Recipe

I have been rocking myself back and forth in a corner. "Just a few more days until school starts. Just a few more days until school starts," I repeatedly reassured myself.  Today is the last Friday before the kids go back to school. The start of a new school year can't get here fast enough. I love my kids, but the Heavens open up and angels sing when they are gone for a couple of hours a day.

The other night, like most week nights, I scurried the kids toward their dad as soon as he stepped in the house after a long day at work. "Dad's home! Dad's home!" I easily overpowered the kids' excitement. After successfully transferring parental responsibility, I relaxed and recharged by hiding away in my room and watching reruns of Friends or a food documentary. I ended up watching an hour documentary on the origin of General Tso chicken, The Search for General Tso. It was fascinating. As usual, I got inspired and went straight to work in the kitchen.

General Tso Chicken

General Tso Chicken

General Tso chicken is an iconic Chinese-American dish that is literally in all Chinese takeout restaurants. The chicken is deep-fried to lock in moisture, and then sauteed in a thick sweet, sour and spicy sauce. The dish is served alongside steamed white rice and steamed broccoli. I made this dish for my husband to pack for lunch the next day. According to him, the flavors got better after a day in the fridge. Therefore, I highly recommend to double the recipe and let the flavor intensify in the fridge for an awesome leftover. 

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs boneless, skineless chicken thighs cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 green onions sliced in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon toasted Sesame seed
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Add the egg to the chicken and toss until evenly coated.
  2. To the chicken, add in the 1/4 cup corn starch and water. Gently toss until evenly coated.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, sugar, vinegar, Hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and remaining corn starch. Set aside. 
  4. In a frying pan, add about an inch of vegetable oil and heat on high. To test if the oil is ready, add a pinch of corn starch to the oil. When the corn starch sizzles, then it's good to go. Deep fry the chicken in batches. It should cook in about 3-5 minutes per batch. Remove each batch from the oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.  
  5. In a wok or pan, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and heat on high. Add the garlic, ginger and green onions. Saute until fragrant but not brown (30 seconds).
  6. Add the sauce mixture and let it bubble and thicken (1-2 minutes).
  7. Add the chicken and toss until evenly coated.
  8. Transfer the chicken to a serving plate and sprinkle with Sesame seeds.
  9. Serve with steamed rice white and broccoli.