Recipe for General Tso’s chicken

Serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal

CHICKEN

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 egg whites
1 pound skinless, boneless, chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes

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1. In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine or sherry, and egg whites. Add the chicken and stir gently to coat.

2. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

SAUCE AND GARNISH

1 teaspoon sesame seeds
¼ cup chicken stock
tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon white rice vinegar
1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon chili sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
cups cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups peanut or vegetable oil
8 dried whole red chilies, or ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 scallions (green parts only), thinly sliced (for garnish)

1. In a dry skillet, toast the sesame seeds for 1 minute or until they are lightly browned.

2. In a bowl, combine the chicken stock, tomato paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin and chili sauces, sesame oil, sugar, and 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch dissolve.

3. In another bowl, toss the remaining cornstarch, salt, and black pepper. Coat the chicken in the mixture and shake off any excess.

4. In a wok or heavy-based skillet, heat the peanut or vegetable oil until it registers 350 degrees on a deep-fat thermometer. Working in 2 batches, use tongs to add the first batch of chicken to the oil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Cook the remaining chicken in the same way. To get extra crispy chicken, let the chicken cool for 5 minutes, then return it to hot oil and cook 30 seconds more or until golden.

5. Transfer the oil to a heatproof container. (It will take 1 hour to cool completely.)

6. Heat the wok or skillet over medium-high heat until a bead of water evaporates on contact. Add 1 tablespoon of the used oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the chilies or red pepper and garlic. Stir-fry for 20 seconds. Pour in the chicken stock mixture and cook, stirring, until hot. Return the chicken to the pan and stir well to coat with sauce. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and scallions. Adapted from “The Chinese Takeout
Cookbook”

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