Friday, April 10, 2009

Takeout Fake-Out

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
Cook rice according to package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Add snow peas, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and red-pepper flakes; toss to combine, and set aside.

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


Ellen said...

MMmmmmmmm - MMMmmmmmmm!! Thanks for sharing this one. I'm DEFINITELY going to give it a try. I have a Kung Pao chicken recipe that is really REALLY good too... some of the ingredients are similar to this...

Anywho, ... Gotta' love Martha! ;)
Thanks for sharing.

Dan Griffin said...

Oh man, does that look good! We'll have to trade some recipes. We have a sesame chicken and orange chicken recipes that are excellent. (Speaking of which, we need to break out that sesame chicken recipe soon. We haven't made that one in a while.)

On the topic of take-out fake-outs, have you seen Todd Wilbur's "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes"? They have both volumes through Wake Co. Library.

Mike said...

I want some!

Abbie said...

Thanks for the tip, Dan. I am a big "Top Secret" fan, but I never thought to check the library for them. I love the Wake County Public Library system.