This recipe is so special, I’m seriously so excited to finally share it. General Tso’s chicken is one of my absolute favorite takeout Chinese food meals, right on up there with fried dumplings and wontons. When I had it at Nine Dragons in EPCOT, it was pretty darn close to a religious experience… It was easily the best I’d ever had. When I went, it didn’t even come with a side of broccoli which was awesome. I always forget to ask them to leave it out, then when I get my meal I have to dissect it to get all traces of the stuff out, then it looks like I’m performing surgery instead of eating, and that’s just plain awkward, especially at a nice place like Nine Dragons.
Now, I do have my own recipe for General Tso’s that I’ve used for the better part of a decade. A recipe that, after making this, I will never, ever use again. It remains to be seen if the amazingness that is this recipe has turned me off from non-homemade General Tso’s for all of eternity. An exaggeration? Not likely, this stuff is just that good. It smells, tastes, and looks exactly like what I was served in 2008 and I was so happy with the final product that I think I took over 100 pictures of it. What can I say? Food inspires me.
This recipe looks intimidating, but I promise, it’s not that difficult. The biggest leap of faith for me was the breading that goes on the chicken… Even in my recipe, I’ve only ever used a dry batter. This batter, however, is liquid. I had convinced myself it wouldn’t work, but had faith and went along with it anyway. When I pulled out the first bit of chicken and it looked exactly like golden chicken fingers that you order at any Chinese place, I knew I’d stumbled upon greatness. And best of all, I can save out some of the fingers, serve that to anybody who doesn’t like the sweet spiciness of the General (like kids…), and I don’t have to make a special meal or create more dishes! Woo-hoo!
|Without the sauce… YUM!|
My big tips on this dish are to work fast, to leave your batter as thick as possible for a fluffier and crunchy crust, and to not fry the chicken for a moment longer then you have to. The longer you fry it, the crunchier the outside gets, but the less fluffy and bready the inside gets. For super crunchy chicken, add the sauce at the absolute last second before serving… I did mine table side. That allows the sauce to really coat everything, without the breading going soft and losing that delicious crunch. I also went with thin-sliced chicken just to make sure that I wouldn’t accidentally leave them underdone during the frying.
Of course you can serve this with rice and veges, which help cut down on the sweetness, but I personally think that takes up valuable space in my tummy and I go without. I highly, highly suggest giving this dish a try… It’s amazing, to say the least.
°o° oil for frying
°o° 1 teaspoon chicken base
°o° 1 egg, beaten
°o° 5 tablespoons sugar
°o° 1 tablespoon corn starch
Meanwhile, combine all batter ingredients, stir very well (but do not beat) and set aside. If mixture is too thick (it should be slightly thicker than waffle batter), add as little water as needed to thin it out. Set aside batter mixture.
Combine all sauce ingredients, mixing until completely blended and cornstarch is absorbed. Set aside.
Pour cooking oil into a deep fryer or a large pot and heat to about 320. Dip the marinated chicken a few pieces at a time into the batter, making sure that no pieces are stuck together and all parts of the chicken are completely covered in batter. Drop carefully into oil and fry until golden and chicken is cooked (cooking time varies depending on size of chicken… Test a piece for doneness to approximate cooking time if needed). Drain on paper towels. Keep warm. Take care that the oil doesn’t get too hot, cooking the outside before the chicken is done, or too cold, causing the batter to become oily.
After all chicken is fried, heat sauce until it boils, darkens, and thicken slightly. Quickly add chicken and toss to coat. Serve immediately.