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General Tso's chicken is a Chinese American restaurant staple, but it's pretty easy to make at home. When researching this recipe, we learned a lot about how the US was introduced to Chinese cuisine in general. We're not going to delve too deeply into that, but if you're interested there's an excellent documentary on the dish called The Search For General Tso. You can substitute cauliflower florets instead of chicken and make an equally delicious vegan General Tso's Cauliflower. You could also substitute chicken wings, though you would need to fry them a little longer (15-18 minutes) Go Straight to the Recipe.
This batter is different from a typical American fried chicken batter. It's much thinner, wetter, and the chicken isn't floured and breaded. The corn starch makes for a super crispy, crunchy crust in a way that bread crumbs just can't. You can also use potato starch if you happen to have some. You still want to make sure you season your batter with salt and pepper.
Make sure you fry the chicken until it is golden brown. You're cooking raw chicken and you don't want to undercook it, nor do you want any raw batter. However if you cook it to dark brown you've gone too far. We chose to fry in a wok, but you can fry in a relatively deep cast iron skillet or dutch oven if that's what you have. Depending on the size of your pot, and how much chicken you have, you may need to fry in 2-3 batches. Using a large wok and 2 1/2 lbs chicken we had to do two batches.
You will need to thicken your sauce with a slurry made of 1/4 tsp corn (or potato) starch and about a tablespoon of cool water. You don't want to dump the corn starch directly into the sauce you're making or it will form unappetizing clumps. The dried chilis we've added are Santaka or Japones chilis. However, if you can't find them, you can substitute arbol chiles in a pinch. In fact, you will often find Japones chilis mis-labeled as arbol chiles in many supermarkets. The flavors and heat levels are fairly similar, though arbol chiles are a bit smokier. Also, if you don't have broth, you can just substitute an equal amount of water.
Bravado Spice Aka Miso Ghost Reaper Hot Sauce was a natural pairing for this recipe. There are many variations of this recipe that include sesame oil, but we chose to let the sesame oil in the hot sauce serve that function. The fermented flavor of the aka (red) miso adds a great depth of flavor we enjoyed. Our version of this recipe is about twice as spicy as what you'll find in most Chinese American restaurants. It is often garnished with sesame seeds and served with white rice and broccoli, but we chose to simply garnish with chopped green onions. Enjoy!