Poultry

General Tso’s Chicken

I’m a fan of Chinese food and most Chinese take-outs carry this General Tso’s chicken dish. The one place I usually order this dish is in Recipes in Greenbelt. And I have always wondered who the hell is General Tso and why, for the love of chicken, is his name part of this famous dish! 😛

Let me share with you something that I found from Chinese FOODDIY:

General Tso Tsungtang, or as his name is spelled in modern Pinyin, Zuo Zongtang, was born on Nov. 10, 1812, and died on Sept. 5, 1885. He was a frighteningly gifted military leader during the waning of the Qing dynasty, a figure perhaps the Chinese equivalent of the American Civil War commander William Tecumseh Sherman. He served with brilliant distinction during China’s greatest civil war, the 14-year-long Taiping Rebellion, which claimed millions of lives.

In “Chinese Kitchen” (Morrow, 1999), author Eileen Yin-Fei Lo says that dish is a Hunan classic called “chung ton gai,” or “ancestor meeting place chicken.” But to others, General Tso’s chicken recipe may be no more ancient than 1972, and may have more in common with Manhattan than with mainland China. On “The Definitive General Tso’s Chicken Page,”  New Yorker Eric Hochman theorizes “It was invented in the mid-1970s, in NYC, by one Chef Peng.” Some researchers were led to the same city, but a different Manhattan restaurateur, who claims the dish is the brilliant invention of his former partner, a gifted Chinese immigrant chef named T.T. Wang.

If Tong’s tale is true, General Tso never ate the dish named after him. The great warrior, the prop of the Qing dynasty, the subduer of rebels and uprisings who carved his name into Chinese history at the point of a sword, had to wait more than 100 years for an inventive expatriate chef to award him his American triumph and make his name famous in the West.

“Tso” much for that. Let’s talk about the dish, shall we? 🙂

I bought half a kilo of chicken wings which I intended to make into one of our staple “TV” food, Buffalo wings 😛 Last night however, we went to Buffalo Wings N Things for a night-out with friends and that means no more Buffalo wings at home. So instead of using chicken cutlets for this chicken dish, I used the wings. I also added eggplants which made the dish more appetizing 🙂


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 kilo chicken cutlets or chicken wings
  • 1T light soy sauce
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ground pepper
  • all-purpose flour for coating
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying

In a bowl, mix the light soy sauce, egg, pepper and chicken. Mix by hand so that the chicken gets coated evenly, especially if you’re using wings. Set aside for about 30 minutes. Coat with all-purpose flour before deep-frying. Deep-fry the chicken until golden brown.

For the sauce:

  • 4 T dark soy sauce
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 4 tsps. Chinese rice wine
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 6 T water
  • 1/2 chicken cube
  • 2 T minced ginger
  • 4 tsps. minced garlic
  • green onions
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • dried red chili peppers
  • 2 tsps. cornstarch for thickening the sauce, optional
  • a little oil

In a pan, heat up oil and saute the garlic, ginger, green onions and dried chili. In a little bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegars, water, and sugar. Pour the soy mixture into the pan. Add in the chicken and simmer for about 2 minutes. Put in the eggplants and cover until cooked. Stir so that the chicken and eggplants get covered by the mixture. If you want the sauce to thicken a bit, dissolve the cornstarch in 2 T water before pouring in. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes with the cornstarch mixture before taking out of the heat.

That’s a simple General Tso’s Chicken dish for you 🙂

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