So whenever anyone suggests a recipe that is supposed to taste just like Chinese takeout, I usually say, "Yum, sounds great. Can you hand me the China Queen menu please?" Meaning that Chinese recipes never taste like Chinese takeout.
Except for this gem I found in Martha Stewart's Everyday Cooking. It tastes exactly like General Tso's Chicken. I think the secret is probably in the egg white-corn starch dip and the panfry. It turns out nice and crispy, and red pepper flakes give the sauce just the right amount of bite.
I know from Jennifer 8. Lee's The Fortune Cookie Chronicles that Chinese food isn't any more Chinese than those horses they stick outside of P.F. Chang's. I don't care. I still like it.
General Tso's Chicken (from Everyday Food)
- 1 1/4 cups long-grain brown rice
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated and peeled
- 3 tablespoons light-brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 2 large egg whites
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
In another bowl, whisk together egg whites, remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken, and toss to coat. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Lift half the chicken from egg-white mixture (shaking off excess), and add to skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining oil and chicken, and set aside (reserve skillet).
Add snow-pea mixture to skillet. Cover; cook until snow peas are tender and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet (with any juices); toss to coat. Serve with rice.
The food: Make-it-at-home General Tso's Chicken
The verdict: I give this General five stars