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General Tso's Chicken | 左宗棠雞

Updated: Mar 5, 2023


I always wondered why isn't Panda Express in Singapore. What puzzled me more is why doesn't Panda Express serve General Tso's chicken; they decided to do so only recently. That's not the most bizarre thing.



What's even more unreal is the origin story of this dish. The dish has been associated with Zuo Zongtang (a Qing dynasty military leader from Hunan Province), even thought, this dish has no recorded connection to Zuo nor is the dish known in Zuo's home province, Hunan.


The dish is found neither in Changsha (capital of Hunan Province), nor in Xiangyin County, where Zuo was born. Moreover, Zuo's descendants, who are still living in Xiangyin County, said that they had never heard of this dish.



You can read all about this various claims of the history here. Let them debate all they want while we devour this fantastic dish. The chicken is battered and deep fried twice, then coated in a soy sauce base sauce. You can save the remaining sauce for another dish (which I am gonna post in a couple of days).


 

Ingredients:

(Serve 4)

  • Base Sauce:

  • Soy Sauce, 125g

  • Green Onions (White Parts) Coarsely Sliced, A Handful

  • Ginger Coarsely Minced, 1"

  • Garlic Crashed with Peels, 2 Cloves

  • Kecap Manis Homemade, 1/2 TBSP

  • ShaoXing / HuaTiao / Sherry Wine, 60g

  • Granulated Sugar, 20g

  • Hoisin Sauce, 1 TBSP

  • Oyster Sauce, 40g

  • Chicken Stock Homemade Preferably Unsalted, 300g

  • Chicken:

  • Chicken Thigh Boneless Coarsely Diced, 2 Preferably With Skin On

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • White Pepper, Pinch

  • Mushroom Powder, Pinch

  • Garlic Powder, 1/2 TBSP

  • ShaoXing / HuaTiao / Sherry Wine, 2 TBSP

  • Egg, 1

  • Baking Soda, 1 TSP

  • General Tso's Sauce:

  • Granulated Sugar, 300g

  • Apple Cider Vinegar, 130g

  • Sriracha / Hot Sauce, 1.5 TBSP Adjust To Preference

  • General Tso's Chicken:

  • Corn Starch, 45g

  • Grapeseed / Sunflower / Canola / Peanut Oil, 2 TBSP + More For Frying and Cooking

  • Garlic Finely Minced, 3 Cloves

  • Green Onions (Green Parts) Coarsely Sliced, A Handful

  • Slurry, 1 TBSP Potato Starch + 2 TBSP Water

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • White Pepper, Pinch

  • Toasted Sesame Oil, 1 TBSP

  • Sesame Seeds, For Garnishing

 

Equipment:

  • Dutch Oven

  • Cast Iron Skillet / Pan

 

Directions:

  1. Please visit my "How To Make Chicken Stock" page for the recipe.

  2. Please visit my "How To Make Kecap Manis" page for the recipe.

  3. Prepare the base sauce.

  4. Mix everything together in a large bowl.

  5. Set aside for 30 mins to 1 hr.

  6. Prepare the chicken.

  7. Combine everything together until the chicken is well coated.

  8. *Set the skin aside.*

  9. Cover and set aside in the fridge for 1 to 2 hrs.

  10. Prepare the General Tso's sauce.

  11. Drain the base sauce into another large bowl.

  12. Discard the residue.

  13. Add the rest of the ingredients into the base sauce.

  14. Mix to combine well.

  15. *We're gonna need just 355g of this General Tso's sauce.

  16. Store the remaining in an airtight container and keep it chilled in the fridge.

  17. We'll be using the remaining sauce for our next recipe.*

  18. After the chicken has marinated, add in corn starch and 2 TBSP of oil.

  19. Mix until well combined.

  20. Heat up 3 to 4" of oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.

  21. *To check if the temperature of the oil is ready, place a wooden chopstick into the oil.

  22. If bubbles start to form, the temperature is ready for frying.*

  23. Gently drop the chicken into the oil.

  24. Deep fried until lightly golden brown.

  25. Remove from heat and drain off excess oil on a wire cooling rack or on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

  26. Repeat the steps for the remaining chicken.

  27. *Try not to crowd the dutch oven. Do it in batches if necessary.*

  28. Set aside and rest for 5 mins.

  29. Coat the skin with any leftover batter and drop into the oil.

  30. Deep fried until golden brown.

  31. Set aside to cool down slightly and coarsely slice.

  32. Fried the chicken the second time until golden brown.

  33. Remove from heat and drain off excess oil on a wire cooling rack or on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

  34. Repeat the steps for the remaining chicken.

  35. In a skillet over medium heat, add 2 TBSP of oil.

  36. Once the oil is heated up, add in garlic and green onions.

  37. Saute until aromatic.

  38. Add in 355g of that General Tso's sauce and stir to combine well.

  39. Bring it up to a simmer.

  40. Add in the slurry (combine potato starch and water until smooth).

  41. Stir to combine well and thicken.

  42. Add in the fried chicken.

  43. Mix until the chicken is well coated.

  44. Bring it up to a simmer.

  45. Cook until the sauce has thickened further.

  46. Taste and adjust for seasonings with salt and pepper.

  47. Remove from heat and transfer onto serving plate.

  48. Drizzle toasted sesame oil over the top.

  49. Garnish with the chicken skins, green onions and sesame seeds.

  50. Serve immediately.


Chickenlicious...


Please give this a try...

 

Recipe Video:



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