General Tso’s Chicken

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General Tso’s Chicken
gently adapted from The Woks of Life

Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 1-1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into about 1-1/2″ chunks
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil, for frying

For the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water

For the rest of the dish:

  • 1 lb broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I use a tablespoon of the oil I used to fry the chicken)
  • 10 whole dried red chile peppers
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • Steamed rice, for serving
  • Scallions, for garnish (optional)
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Method

For the chicken:

Combine sesame seeds, cornstarch, salt, sesame oil, shaoxing wine, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Pour flour in a shallow dish; dredge the chicken lightly in the flour and set aside.

Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium high. Fry the chicken in small batches until golden brown, about 5 minutes per batch. Set aside.

For the sauce:

In a small bowl, stir together shaoxing wine, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sugar. In another small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water.

For the rest of the dish:

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Alternatively, you can cook the broccoli in a large pot with a steamer insert, about 5 minutes, until nearly cooked through. Rinse in cold water and set aside.

Heat a clean wok over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil along with the dried chiles. Cook the chili peppers for about 10 seconds, then add the sauce, along with the chicken stock or water. Bring the liquid to a boil, then stir in the cornstarch slurry until it thickens to a sauce. Add the chicken, toss a few times, then add the broccoli and stir until everything is well-coated.

Serve immediately with steamed rice. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds, if desired.

NOTES

One of those recipes on my list that I’ve been meaning to try for years and wow, this is unbelievably delicious. Steve and I agreed we could eat a bowl of the chicken alone, no vegetables, no rice. Happiness in a bowl. The funny thing is, with its typically gloppy and/or sweet appearance, I’ve never actually bothered to order this at a Chinese-American restaurant – and I imagine now I never will!

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