Wednesday, June 9, 2010

(Lighter) General's Tso's Chicken

I have found that I have lost all craving to eat in the Chinese restaurants in our town. I haven't decided if this is a reflection on the restaurants themselves or on my particular taste in Chinese food. For the most part the restaurants in our town have a buffet for one. And while I love variety as much as the next person, I always feel like a hog at a Chinese buffet, even if I only eat one small plate. It may have to do with the many years the boys I worked with would get Chinese buffet at lunch and prepare all morning by making sure there was enough room in their bowels for as many plates as they could eat (I believe the going number was four plates). J has also introduced me to the fact that you need to go to a buffet at a certain time of day to get the freshest food. Since it's the peak hours that have the freshest food, you end up watching all these sad people gorging themselves, which is less than appetizing. One place once had a trail of ants climbing up the wall. Another place (supposedly) once had maggots in the fried rice after it had been delivered. Actually, thinking about it now, I can't think of a single place in town that has sit down Chinese (as opposed to buffet).

Anyway, what all this means is that I have been making more of our Chinese inspired dishes at home. This particular recipe is actually supposed to be a lighter version of the original. There is no deep frying and I have added a bigger veggie to meat ratio than originally called for. I must say as much as I'm not a huge fan of her personality, Martha Stewart's recipes seem to be pretty awesome in execution.

Lighter General Tso's Chicken (adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 cups uncooked long-grain brown rice (prepared according to packaging)
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 lb. sugar snap peas
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated and peeled
2 1/2 tbsp light-brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp red-pepper flakes
1 large egg white
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons peanut oil

  1. In a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Add peas, carrots, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and red-pepper flakes; toss to combine, and set aside.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together egg white, remaining cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken, and toss to coat.
  3. In a wok, heat oil over medium-high. Lift the chicken from egg-white mixture (shaking off excess), and add to wok. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Add carrot-pea mixture to wok. Stir-fry until peas and carrots are tender and sauce has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet (with any juices); toss to coat. Serve with rice.


  1. I do love me some General Tso's chicken, but it can be so so fattening and heavy. I must try this recipe. Does it taste pretty similar to the flavor of the real stuff?

  2. It's really pretty close. I think I would add more crushed red pepper or those dried chilis. I think the sauce really is similar. It beat the heaviness of the original. This served two of us (although it had a ton of peas in it, ratio-wise). The original called for cooking the chicken in batches which might be even easier.

  3. This looks easy and delicious! Thanks for the comment on my blog - I'm already mapping out a route (if y'all want a tour guide) or jotting ideas (if y'all want to go solo)!