David made his amazing General Tsao’s Chicken for my family, and we loved it. I asked if he would share his recipe on Laze, and he agreed! Enjoy today’s guest post!
Ingredients (be sure to check out “Notes” at the bottom of this recipe):
Dark soy sauce
1. Cut chicken into golf-ball sized pieces. Revisit each piece with your knife and score it in a criss-cross manner. This does a few things: it increases the surface area for your flour/corn starch to stick to as well as to fry (which means less cook time and a more even cook), and increases the munchability factor.
2. After you’ve cut up your chicken, add some oil to the wok (just enough to cover some chicken pieces if they were laying in the pan). Turn the heat up high enough to fry but to not burn the oil.
3. While your pan is heating, coat your chicken pieces in equal parts corn starch and flour. (Again, see “Notes” below for some thoughts on flour/corn starch). If you’d like a thicker fried coating on the chicken, just add some water to the flour and corn starch to make a batter to coat the chicken with prior to frying.
4. Add your chicken to the oil. Fry until golden brown and stir occasionally to ensure the chunks do not stick together.
5. After the chicken has cooked, remove it from your wok and place it to the side. Remove all but about ~1 Tbsp of the oil from your wok.
6. Cut up your garlic and green onion. I like to cut the white base part of the green onion into tiny medallions that will stand up to the intense heat, and the greener part into longer sections for garnish.
7. Put wok back on heat and add garlic and white medallions of green onion.
8. Now the sauce: grab the chicken from the side and toss it back into the wok. By now, your garlic, green onions, and chicken should be sizzling a lot on the highest heat setting. Now, add your sugar, soy sauce(es), vinegar, and cooking wine. I use about 1/4 soy, 1/4 vinegar, and 1/2 a combination of the rest of the ingredients. If you are not comfortable eye-balling this, just pre-mix your sauce in a mixing bowl prior to cooking it.
9. Cook everything on the highest heat until the sauce starts to bubble and thicken… this should remind you of seeing how caramel/candy looks at high temperatures: nice, glistening bubbles that don’t pop too rapidly.
And there you have it: General Tsao’s chicken!
– The Chicken: I usually go for breast meat, but any part of the bird will do. A mix of light/dark can be particularly tasty.
– The Flour: This is optional. If you end up using corn starch only and no flour, you’ll have chicken that is a bit hard and shinier on the outside and lacks the typical look of chicken that has been ‘fried’.
– Dark soy sauce: This is optional. Dark soy sauce is the liquid smoke of Chinese food and it can be very salty. As such, I only use it if I want some very deep, dark, rich sauce… otherwise, stick to regular soy sauce!
– Sugar: Go for the yellow rock sugar you find at your local Asian grocer. If that’s not available, move. (Seriously, though, white sugar will suffice!)
– Oil: I use vegetable oil, but I’ve heard olive adds a nice flavor to fried meats.
Thank you for sharing, love!