General Tsao’s Chicken

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Let’s start with a few facts. This recipe is also referred to as General Gao’s, General Gau’s, General Tong’s, General Tang’s…. OK, you get the idea.

You can find it on any American Chinese restaurant’s menu but I only ever order it at Cheesecake Factory. Why?? Because I can get it served over MASHED POTATOES!!

Cornstarch is what makes the crunchy coating, with a little help from a double fry.

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The chicken first gets a nice bath in an egg, white pepper, sugar and salt.

Then along comes the cornstarch.

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Once the oil reaches 350°, it’s time to get moving.

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Add the chicken in batches. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan as it will reduce the temp of the oil and lead to a soggy, sad mess.

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Once the second batch comes out, put the first batch back.

In the meantime, we have sauce to make!

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Everything gets a quick stir-fry and a little more cornstarch joins the party.

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So let’s move on to the recipe.

Chicken :
1 egg
2 chicken breasts, in 1 inch cubes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp white pepper
1 cup of cornstarch

Sauce:
6 Tbsp green onion
2 cloves of garlic
10-12 dried whole red chilies
Zest of an orange
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
6 Tbsp chicken stock
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy
4 Tbsp sesame oil
4 Tbsp peanut oil
3 Tbsp orange marmalade jam or apricot jam
4 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Preheat the oil to 350°

Beat the egg and add the sugar, salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the bowl and stir. Slowly add the cornstarch and make sure the pieces are even coated.

Add a batch to the hot oil and let it fry for a couple of minutes. The pieces will begin to float to the top. Repeat with the next batches. When all pieces of chickeb have been fried, put the first batch back in the oil until it’s golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batches. Drain the chicken on paper towels and set aside.

Heat 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green onion, orange zest, chilies and garlic, stirring constantly. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients up to the cornstarch and let it cook for another few minutes.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and slowly stir it in.

Add the marmalade and keep stirring until the sauce thickens.

Add the chicken and turn the heat to low, while making sure the chicken is evenly coated in the sauce.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with carrots, thinly sliced, and some green onion. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the mashed potatoes (or rice).
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