I was dining at one of my favorite local restaurants called Formosa. It’s an Asian Fusion restaurant and when I walk in there, it feels like an episode of cheers…but in a super classy setting. The staff knows me for years and the owner’s main goal is to get me hitched…to a really good guy. She’s always telling me to go on their nights where they play jazz, so I’ll meet a hottie in the bar area.
So, one of my favorite dishes there is the curry duck. It is seared and coated with a light breading that gives it a crunch, with the soft consistency inside of the perfectly cooked, flavorful duck. I usually ask for the curry sauce on the side, so I can gently coat the shards of crunchy duck in the slight heat of the curry that leaves me feeling warm and satisfied. I usually order the Thai iced tea with it, which calms the heat of the curry and has almost a dessert feel to supplement the meal.
As I was enjoying this meal, I began to get inspired to make my own version of a hearty meat with a lightly crunchy outside and a soft and tender inside little bite sized piece of heaven. Let’s make our very own General Tso’s…right in our own kitchen! I wanted to create a meal with the Asian flavors, slightly indulgent, but a simple way to create a meal like this right at home. How can I do this? Duck isn’t as readily available to all of us as chicken thighs, so let’s make this simple. Chicken thighs, although they contain more fat than the chicken breast, are a very succulent part of the chicken and have the same type of bite and texture as the duck. So, now it’s time to pick up some simple ingredients, prepare a light breading and create a similar experience. Let’s just focus on the protein for now and you can always add your favorite “carby” or “veggie” side to it later.
Take In General Tso’s
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry
2 large egg whites
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 pound of skinless chicken thighs (cut into cubes)
1/4 cup unsalted chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chilli sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp corn starch
1 1/2 c corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 cups peanut oil (or substitution oil for allergies)
8 chillies or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic minced
3 scallions chopped (put to the side)
Mix together the soy sauce, sherry and egg whites and place the chicken cubes in the marinade and make sure all of them are coated. Leave at room temperature for 15 minutes.
In a dry pan, toast the sesame seeds and put them to the side.
Take a cup and a half of corn starch and place it in a bowl. Place the marinated chicken cubes in the corn starch (a few at a time) and lightly bread them. In a pan, pour in a light layer of peanut oil (or sesame oil if you are allergic) and heat to about 350 degrees. Place the chicken pieces in the pan a batch at a time, so they will cook evenly. Fry the chicken pieces for about 4 minutes and stir to brown all sides. Remove the chicken with a spider tool (will be reviewed on my product review site) or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
In a separate pan, heat and place a drizzle of oil and sizzle the chillies and garlic to give the base a spicy and savory fragrance. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, hoisin sauce, chill sauce, sesame oil, sugar and teaspoon of corn starch, salt and pepper and reduce all of it to thicken it.
Add the crunchy chicken to the sauce, coat all of the pieces and transfer to a serving dish. Decorate the top of this vibrantly red General Tso’s chicken dish with scallions and toasted sesame seeds for an extra pop of color! Enjoy!! You’re welcome!