Fancy some General Tso’s chicken? That was exactly how I asked and confused my kids. Their immediate response were like…huh, who is that?? Well, names aside, this General’s chicken does taste really good. :-) According to the author of the cookbook, this is a Hunanese version of the General Tso’s chicken, the other is from Taiwan. There isn’t a lot of difference between the two, just that the former uses black vinegar and the latter uses white vinegar. I like both versions of vinegar. So, next time I’ll try cooking the white vinegar, Taiwan version.
Recipe adapted from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook By Fuchsia Dunlop
General Tso's Chicken (Changsha Version)
4 Boned Chicken Thighs with skin (about 12 oz)
6-10 small Dried Red Chilies
3/4 inch Piece Fresh Ginger, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp Double Concentrate Tomato Paste-mixed with 1 Tbsp Water
3 Scallions, green parts only, sliced
1 tsp Sesame Oil
Peanut Oil for cooking
For the marinade:
2 tsp Light Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
1 Egg Yolk
4 Tbsp Potato Flour
For the sauce:
1/2 tsp Potato Flour
2 tsp White Sugar
2 tsp Chinkiang Vinegar
1/4 tsp Dark Soy Sauce
2 tsp Light Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp Stock or Water
Unfold the chicken thighs and lay them, skin side down, on a chopping board. Use a sharp knife to make a few shallow crisscross cuts into the meat-this will help the flavors to penetrate. Then cut each thigh into bite-size slices, an uneven 1/4 inch or so in thickness. Place the chicken slices in a bowl.
To make the marinade, add the soy sauces, sugar, and egg yolk to the chicken and mix well, then coat the chicken slices with potato flour.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl; set aside. Use a pair of scissors to snip the dried chilies into 3/4-inch pieces, discarding the seeds.
Heat enough oil for deep-frying to 350-400˚F. Add the chicken and deep-fry until it is crisp and golden. (If you are deep-frying in a wok with a relatively small volume of oil, fry the chicken in batches.) Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour the oil into a heatproof container, and clean the wok if necessary.
Return the wok to a high flame with 2-3 Tbsp of the oil. Add the dried chilies and stir-fry briefly until they are fragrant and just changing color (do not burn them). Toss in the ginger and stir-fry for a few seconds more, then add the tomato paste and stir-fry until the oil is stained a deep orange.
Add the mixed ingredients for the sauce, stirring as it thickens. Tip in the chicken and stir vigorously to coat it in sauce. Add the scallions and stir a few times, then, switch off the heat, stir in the sesame oil and serve.