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Saturday, May 14, 2016

General Tsao Chicken with Vegetables.

One of my favorite dishes. Most Chinese restaurants here are Cantonese or Szechuan. 
General Tsao's Chicken has almost as many variants as there are spellings of his name. His real name was Zuo Zongtang and he lived in the Hunan province of China during the Qing Dynasty. And no, there's no record of him ever enjoying this dish. Shame. But... you will.

You'll need:

8 chicken thighs or 4 breasts, boneless, skinless, and cut into bite sized pieces
small bunch of broccoli florets, blanched
1/2 red and 1/2 green pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium red onion, chopped

For the dredge:
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. paprika
dash pepper
dash salt

For the sauce:
1/2 cup chicken  stock
4 cloves pressed* garlic
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
3 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. soy sauce ( I prefer Red Star Dark, but any will do)
2 tbsp. white wine
1/2 tsp crushed pepper flakes (I use Saambal Oelek, an Indonesian chili paste)
1 tbsp. corn starch

1 cup uncooked rice (we use Basmati)
vegetable oil
sesame oil

Cook the rice according to instructions.

Thoroughly mix all the dredge ingredients in a wide bowl. Heat the wok and add oil (about 1/4 cup plus a tbsp. sesame oil) and when it starts to smoke slightly, dredge the chicken and cook in small batches.

Is it pretty? Nah... but we're not shooting for presentation. Yet.
While you're cooking the chicken, go ahead and mix all the sauce ingredients together. Bet you can smell the fresh ginger and garlic, huh?

Set your oven to warm and take a cookie sheet out, laying a layer of paper towel in it. Place each drained batch of cooked chicken on the pan so it'll keep warm.

Fresh and colorful... and tasty!
Once you're done cooking the chicken, drain any residual oil and wipe out the wok. There will be a lot of cornstarch residue from the chicken, and you want to keep that to a minimum. Add another splash of oil and sesame oil, get it hot, and stir fry the onions, peppers, and garlic until crisp - tender.

With all the goodies - amazing!
Add the chicken and sauce. Heat the sauce until it begins to reduce and add the broccoli. Simmer till sauce thickens and remove from heat.

Serve on a bed of warm rice.

(Eat well, live better.)

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