Last month was my Mum’s birthday, and I had planned to do a special meal for her of General Tso’s chicken, but the plan changed after she was lovingly whisked off to London for the weekend by my Dad. I kept quiet on it, vowing to do it for her as a late birthday treat before leaving in February.
The other night she text to tell me she had left a couple of chicken breast quarters out to defrost, which I was to cook for the two of us however I saw fit. Finally, the opportunity to serve up General Tso’s Chicken has arrived!
This was a dish I had never attempted to make before, but after checking out a number of different recipes on the internet I was determined to get it right! My sister and I were quite privileged in our youth to be treated to a number of family holidays to Florida. At some point during the holiday, with out fail, our mum would enjoy a big tasty portion of General Tso’s, be it ordered in or at the food court in the mall! It’s an unheard of dish in England, which means it’s been quite a few years since she had it!
For the marinade…
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons of corn flour
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of mirin (rice wine)
For the rest…
- 3 large chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon of corn flour
- 2 tablespoons of mirin
- 60ml of rice vinegar
- 60ml of dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon of thai chilli paste
- 1 teaspoon of garlic paste
- 3 teaspoons of sesame oil
- 125ml of water
- 3 garlic cloves
- About an inch of ginger
- A small handful of dried birdseye chillis
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3-4 spring onions
- A nice sprinkle of black pepper
- Vegetable oil… For cooking.
Take it away, General…
1. Slice the chicken into cubes and set to one side. Then in a bowl, beat the egg and combine with 3 tablespoons of cornflour, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of mirin. You will need to stir gently for about 5 minutes before the cornflour has successfully combined and you have no lumps in your mix. Add the chicken and leave to marinade at room temperature while you prepare the rest…
2. In a separate bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of corn flour, 60ml of dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of mirin, 60ml of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of caster sugar, 60ml of hoisin sauce, a tablespoon of Thai chilli paste, a teaspoon of garlic paste, 3 teaspoons of sesame oil, a sprinkle of black pepper and 125ml of water. Stir, then set to one side.
Also de-seed and finely slice the pepper.
4. In a heavy pan, pour in enough vegetable oil so it’s about 1CM thick. Heat on a medium/high heat.
5. Once the oil is good and hot, add a handful of your chicken. Move it around until it has browned on all sides- it will cook quite quickly! Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen towel to drain the oil. Now repeat, until all the chicken has been cooked.
6. Once this step was complete, I took three pieces of attached kitchen towel and placed the chicken at one end. Roll it up, and set it to one side until you need it again.
7. Remove all but about a tablespoon of oil from the pan and return to the heat. Add the chillis, ginger and garlic and cook until the garlic has bronzed. About 2 minutes.
8. Add the bell pepper and stirfry for a further 2 minutes.
9. Finally, add the chicken and the sauce you made earlier. Cook for a further 5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and the chicken is irresistibly sticky.
10. Finally, garnish with finely sliced spring onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds!
11. Serve with your choice of sides. I went with a crispy vegetable stirfry. The whole thing went down a treat!