Saturday, June 4, 2016

General Tso's chicken

Flicking through the pile of Delicious magazines that I've been meaning to go through, I was drawn to Cantonese style dishes. Spicy, Chinese flavours and of course fried goodness.

With the forecast of lashing rain for the entire weekend, I couldn't think of a better way to enjoy the indoors with an American Chinese dish of General Tso's chicken.

I found this recipe rather therapeutic to make. I think it was focussing on grating the garlic and ginger and having all the ingredients in the pantry is always handy. The marinade was relatively easy to make and timing it to make an hour before lunch was perfect.

The batter mix was light and perfect for coating the chicken before frying. General Tso sauce was easy to make and makes extra for another dish. I made up a cabbage slaw instead of serving with rice.

Using 8 chicken thigh fillets makes a lot perhaps too much for 4 people as we had a fair bit left over. The crispness of the chicken does disappear but I found refreshing the chicken in the oven worked well.

I loved this dish, it was so good that we had to this again for dinner.
Recipe by Patrick Friesen, Eric Koh and Christopher Hogarth from Queen Chow, Queen Victoria Hotel Enmore.

Serves 6


Chicken marinade
250mL Chinese rice wine
1 tbs caster sugar
2cm piece ginger, finely grated
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 tsp chicken stock powder
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
8 chicken thigh fillets, cut into 6 pieces each

Batter mix
1 tbs sunflower oil, plus extra to deep fry
2/3 cup (100g) plain flour
2/3 cup (100g) cornflour
1 cup (250mL) water

To serve
Steamed jasmine rice to serve

My cabbage slaw
1/4 white cabbage thinly sliced
1/2 cup of mint leaves
1/2 red capsicum thinly sliced
handful of pickled red onion or fresh red onion

General Tso's sauce
1/2 cup (125mL) chicken stock
1 tsp cornflour
1 tbs peanut oil
1 garlic clove, finely grated
2cm piece ginger, finely grated
2 spring onions, white part finely chopped, green part cut into 2cm batons
12 died long red chillies
1/4 cup (60mL) dark soy sauce
2 tbs Chinese rice wine (shaohsing)
2 tbs Chinese black rice vinegar
2 tbs caster sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp kombu tsuyu (kombu extract - optional)


To make the marinade
1. Combine the rice wine, sugar, ginger, garlic, stock powder, pepper and 1 tsp salt in a bowl.

2. Add the chicken, cover and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight to marinate.

To make General Tso's sauce
3. Whisk stock and cornflour in a small bowl and set aside.

4. Heat peanut oil in a wok over high heat.

5. Add garlic, ginger, white spring onion and chillies and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and softened.

6. Add soy sauce, rice wine, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, kombu extract and cornflour mixture and stir to combine.

7. Bring to boil then remove from heat and set aside.

To make batter
8. Place sunflower oil, flours and 1 tsp salt in a bowl.

9. Slowly whisk in 1 cup (250mL) water until smooth.

To make chicken
10. Half fill a large pan with sunflower oil and heat to 180 degrees Celcius.

11. Remove chicken from marinade and drain in a colander.

12. Coat chicken in batter allowing excess to drip off.

13. In batches, deep fry chicken for 5 minutes until crisp, golden and cooked.

14. Drain on paper towel.

15. Add fried chicken to General Tso's sauce and toss to coat.

16. Repeat with remaining chicken.

17. Deep fry dark green onion for 2 minutes or until crispy.

18 Top chicken with crispy spring onion and serve with steamed rice or cabbage slaw.