General Tso's Chicken-Zuo Zong Tang Ji-Taiwanese Version

I just picked up the Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook by Fuschia Dunlop. I've been reading a lot of books about China, bith fiction and non fiction and I'm watching the Beijing Olympics where I can. So it seemed fitting I learn to make some authentic Chinese food, although, Beijing is not in Hunan.

Dunlop says, "as Tuscany is to Italy, so Hunan is to China, with it's tradition of hearty peasant cooking, it's warmth and hospitality,and the vibrancy of it's people and landscapes. With an endorsement like that who can resist?

The book itself is very interesting. One of the first things I did was cruise the recipes to see if I really need to make a trip to the Asian market. Seems I will. I also needed to make salted chiles, which is basically salted chopped chiles that sit on a sealed jar for a couple of weeks. So I got those started.

Meanwhile, I wanted to make something that I already had all the ingredients for.
I've ordered General Tso's Chicken in Chinese restaurants but this version doesn't have the sweetness of the American version. I actually like it better. Dunlop actually listed this as a Taiwanese version. Yeah Taiwan isn't in Hunan but according to the book it's considered a Hunanese dish but was created by a Hunan chef who had fled to Taiwan after the Chinese civil war.

Anyway the dish is very simple and very easy. I bought bone in skin on chicken thighs but ended up discarding the skin because it was just easier to cut up the chicken pieces without it. Boning chicken thighs is kind of a pain in the butt too. I also didn't really deep fry. I put a half inch of oil in he bottom of my wok and stir fried in batches. It worked out well.

I did find potato flour at the regular grocery store in the health food section. Bobs Red Mill makes it. But it is much much cheaper at the Asian market. I found dark soy sauce at Safeway. Pearl River Bridge brand.


General Tso's Chicken

4 boned chicken thighs with skin
6-10 dried red chiles
2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 tsp sesame oil
Peanut oil for deep frying

For the marinade
2 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 egg yolk
2 tbs potato flour
2 tsp peanut oil

For the sauce

1 tbs double concentrate tomato paste mixed with 1 tbs water
1/2 tsp potato flour
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp light soy sauce
1 tbs rice vinegar
3 tbs chicken stock or water(I used water)
scallions for garnish

Slice chicken thighs in half skin side down. Make a few shallow slices in meat to help flavors penetrate, then cut each thigh into bite sized pieces.

Mix soy sauces with the egg yolk and combine with the chicken, mixing well. add the potato flour and the oil and mix. Set aside.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

With scissors, snip the peppers to 1/4 inch pieces, discarding seeds.

Heat enough oil for deep frying to 350 to 400 degrees. Fry chicken till crisp and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Heat about 3 tbs oil in wok and add chiles, frying briefly until they change color and are fragrant. Add ginger and garlic and stir fry a moment more. Add sauce and stir as it thickens. add the chicken and stir to coat pieces in sauce. Remove from heat, stir in some sesame oil I(I didn't do this) and sprinkle with scallion greens


Ryan said...

This sounds great! In England, as in America, we have very different versions in the Chinese restaurants to actual real Chinese food!

I have been watching the Beijing Olympics too, and was really pleased to see England win their first gold in the ladies cycling. I will have to dig out the Chinese cook books to get into the spirit of it too!