If you order General Tso’s Chicken from foomanchew.com on a regular basis, you may find yourself wondering, “So, who is this General Tso guy anyway?” The team at foomanchew was wondering the same thing, so we did a bit of research.
A Man With a Love For Chicken? Sorry, Wrong Answer.
According to various sources, the delicious Chinese dish is named after General Tso Tsung-tang, also known as Zuo Zongtang. This individual was a general and statesman during the Qing Dynasty. However, there is no known connection between the General and the dish. In fact, if you were to survey the residents of General Tso’s hometown, you’d find that none of the residents know of the recipe.
The popular Chinese dish was created long after General Tso had passed, so the rumor that it was his favorite meal is entirely false. According to extensive research by the New York Times, General Tso’s Chicken was first created a Taiwan-based chef by the name of Peng Chang-kuei. Peng fled to Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War and lived there until 1973, when he made his way over to New York City and started his famous restaurant on East 44th street. Because of Peng’s multiple locations, it is hard to determine which location truly sparked the General Tso’s Chicken craze. However, many accounts trace the origin of the dish back to Taiwan.
Therefore, the dish is not connected to General Tso other than the name.
Make General Tso’s Chicken at Home
Are you a fan of General Tso’s Chicken and want to learn how to make it from home? Good thing you stumbled upon this blog post then. Check out the recipe below from “Appetite of China”.
General Tso’s Chicken by Appetite for China
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into 1-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups peanut or vegetable oil for frying, plus 1 tablespoon for stir-frying
- 8 dried whole red chilis, or substitute 1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds, for garnish
- Scallions, green parts thinly sliced, for garnish
- 1 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup chicken stock, or substitute water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili paste
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1) Prepare the marinade: In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, and egg whites. Coat the chicken to the marinade mixture and let sit for 10 minutes.
2) Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the chicken stock, tomato paste, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, chili paste, sesame oil, sugar, and the 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set the sauce aside.
3) In a large bowl or deep plate, toss the 1 1/2 cups cornstarch with the salt and pepper. Coat the marinated chicken in the cornstarch and shake off any excess before frying.
4) Heat the 3 cups of peanut or vegetable oil in your wok until it registers 350°F on an instant-read oil thermometer. Working in 2 or 3 batches, add the first batch of chicken cubes and fry until golden brown on the outside and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
5) Drain the oil into a heatproof container and save for discarding. Wipe the wok with a paper towel to remove any brown bits, but don’t wash.
6) Reheat the wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the base and sides. Add the dried chilis and garlic to the wok and stir-fry until just fragrant, about 20 seconds. Pour in the sauce mixture and stir until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.
7) Return the chicken to the wok and stir well to coat with sauce. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Garnish with white sesame seeds and scallions. Serve with white rice and vegetables.
Don’t have time to make your own version of General Tso’s Chicken? Order from foomanchew.com online or from your smartphone today.