Quick General Tso’s Chicken

Every time we decide to order “fast food” Chinese for dinner, we are always faced with the age old dilemma…”Do we or do we not order General Tso’s chicken tonight?” Do we stick with the dish that we all know and love or stray from the well worn path and try something different which may not be as awesome? If you really think about it, it really breaks down to this battle royale, General Tso’s vs everything else. 2 food entrees enter the ring…only 1 will leave.

As you can surmise, we’re a general tso’s chicken house, however, it has been one of those dishes that never once occurred to me to make myself until recently. Honestly, the perfectly crispy coated chicken pieces always seemed like such a daunting task. I’ve breaded, dipped, and fried my fair share of food, but nothing has ever come remotely close to the crispy breading perfection that tso’s chicken calls for.

That’s when I realized, you know, if I’m going to make this myself in my own kitchen (with that torturous electric stove) I might as well as try and do it MY way. Using a great recipe that I found, I modified this to forgo the “breading” and deep frying process and just use a basic coating of corn starch instead. This made it immensely quicker and all the more easier on my frying skills (or lack thereof!). The chicken comes out pretty crispy and provides just enough texture for the sauce.

Speaking of sauce…who knew the General’s secret sauce was soooo easy? Easy and delicious! The fresh scallions really make the sauce…don’t substitute these out and be generous. I ended up with some leftover sauce and it was fantastic just spooned over some white rice for a quick meal. Who needs the chicken? Shhhh….

So while this General Tso’s may not be the ultimate Tso’s chicken you get from your favorite local Chinese place, but for a quick, easy, homemade dinner that’s a wee bit healthier, this one’s a winner!

Quick General Tso’s Chicken
Adapted from Food.com

Ingredients

3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups green onions, sliced
8 small dried chilies, seeds removed (bird pepper or thai chilies are good)
1/2 cup cornstarch
Salt and pepper to taste

For sauce:
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sherry wine or 1/4 cup white wine
14 1/2 ounces chicken broth

Preparation

Prepare sauce by combining all ingredients in a large jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake ingredients to mix. Can be prepared ahead and kept in refrigerator…just shake it up before you use it.

Place remaining cornstarch in a place and season with salt and pepper. Preheat large frying pan with just a smidge of oil. I first started out with a tablespoon of oil…the resulting chicken vesuvius was not so good. I ended up using a few spritzes of cooking spray and that turned out perfect. Coat each piece of chicken in seasoned cornstarch and fry in the pan for several minutes until golden brown on all sides. Drain on paper towels and keep warm. Repeat until all chicken is done.

In a large wok or skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat until oil begins to dance and shimmer. Add green onions and hot peppers and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Stir in sauce mixture and cook until it begins to thicken and easily coats the back of a spoon. If sauce thickens too much, you may thin it out with some water, add about 1 tablespoon at a time.

Once sauce is thick enough, add chicken to wok and cook until warmed through and all is hot and bubbly, should only be about 1-2 minutes more. Serve over rice and enjoy!

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~ by tastydesu on June 2, 2011.

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