Chinese takeout has a way of being delicious and terrible at the same time. This homemade version of General Tso’s isn’t quite as fast as takeout, but it has a depth of flavor and spice that really shines and leaves you satisfied.
Low-sodium soy sauce is an absolute must in this recipe. Otherwise, it gets very salty to the point of being unpleasant.
To make this vegetarian friendly, swap out the chicken for tofu (extra firm) and the chicken broth for vegetable broth. Both versions are delicious! Increase the amount of chili-garlic sauce or sambal oelek to increase the heat.
GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN
1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 large egg white
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 lb skinless boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp Chinese chili-garlic sauce
2 tsp sambal oelek
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for frying
2 Tbsp very finely chopped fresh ginger
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
In a medium bowl, combine the toasted sesame oil with the egg white, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch. Add the chicken, stirring to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the chicken broth with the chili-garlic sauce, sambal oelek, sugar and the remaining 1/4 cup of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
In a large saucepan, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the ginger and garlic and cook over high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir the broth mixture, add it to the pan and cook until thickened and glossy, about 3 minutes. Keep the sauce warm over low heat.
In a large, deep skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil until shimmering. Carefully add the chicken, one piece at a time, and fry over high heat, turning once or twice, until very browned and crisp, about 4 minutes.
Drain the chicken on paper towels and immediately add to the sauce along with the scallions. Cook just until coated, about 30 seconds. Serve right away.
Barely adapted from Food and Wine