You know when you eat something for supper that is so good that you happily pack up the leftovers in anticipation for the next day? Then the next morning you are sitting there, drumming your fingers on your desk at work, counting the hours and minutes until lunch time. OMG! How can it still be 11:55!? That was me with this dish. In fact, I am having it for lunch again tomorrow. I guess its similar to General Tao, but lighter and healthier. I served mine over some sticky white rice with steamed broccoli – Perfect! The chicken is tender, caramelized, addictively sweet n’ salty – Total “umami”.
Umami: My interpretation of this, one of the 5 basic tastes, is a blissful tastebud overload; flavours that just hit your pleasure sensors, that satisfy every possible craving and keep you coming back for more! Caramelization of meats and onions, the crispy brown bits, even anchovies; those all have a higher intensity of flavour thus categorized as having “Umami”.
Fun Fact: So, who’s General Tso? Wikipedia states that the dish has absolutely no connection to the actual General Tso, (Zuo Zontang – 1812–1885), a Qing Dynasty general and statesman. In fact, this recipe may not have even been created in Asia. They say it was likely “invented” in America and then brought back to Asia circa 1949. Although, a restaurant in Taiwan counters this theory and claims to have invented the dish, we just can’t be sure of it’s true origins except that General Tso had absolutely nothing do do with it. In fact, his descendants weren’t familiar with the dish at all.
I found this recipe on a great blog I follow called Whisked Away. We seem to have similar tastes 🙂 http://justwhiskedaway.com/2015/04/21/general-tsaos-chicken/
General Tso’s Chicken
This is a much lighter version of the real recipe as the chicken is not deep fried.
3-4 chicken breasts, diced
4-5 tablespoons oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup corn starch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon pepper
steamed rice for serving
Garnish: optional toasted sesame seeds, green onion and fresh cilantro
4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons water
1 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 375.
In a large Ziploc bag, add corn starch, salt, garlic powder, and pepper then shake until mixed.
Add diced chicken, seal bag and shake to evenly coat chicken.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Use tongs to transfer chicken pieces to hot oil, shaking off excess cornstarch mixture.
Sauté 2-3 minutes per side until lightly browned (chicken will still be raw in the middle).
Whisk sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
Add chicken to a baking dish then pour the sauce on top. Gently fold the sauce into the chicken until evenly coated.
Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
Remove foil and bake an extra 5 minutes or so, until sauce is nice and bubbly, allowing that nice caramelization to occur.
Serve over rice, garnish with toasted sesame seeds, chopped green onion and cilantro (optional).
Once the chicken has been browned. Add the sauce and gently fold into the chicken.
The finished product!