General Tso's Chicken

Duration: 2 hours including marination

Serves: 4

‘General Tso’s Chicken’ is the most famous Hunanese dish in the world.

Legend says one of the most notable Taiwanese chefs Peng Chang-kuei invented this dish in the 1950s while serving a group of U.S. defence personnel & named it after a 19th century Chinese military leader. However it didn’t become popular until then-President Richard Nixon made his famous visit to China in 1972 & it soon became a favourite of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who often visited Chang-kuei’s restaurant in NYC.

Fun Fact: despite its international reputation, there is no record of this dish in the classic texts on Hunanese food and cooking – vast majority of Hunanese people have still never heard of General Tso’s chicken, yet it is now being adopted as a “traditional” dish by some influential chefs & food writers in Hunan itself. Perhaps it would have been embarrassing to admit that the most famous “Hunanese” dish in the world was a product of the exiled nationalist society of Taiwan?

     Ingredients

  • 1kg chicken thigh – cubed
  • 1 1/2 cup rice wine
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1/2 tbsp water
  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Method

  • Marinate the chicken with 1 cup rice wine and 1/4 cup soy sauce. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
  • In a bowl, combine the flour with salt. 
  • Remove the chicken from marinade and coat all the chicken thoroughly with flour.
  • Heat oil and fry the chicken until golden brown.
  • Remove chicken from oil and set aside to drain on paper towels.
  • In a separate pan, heat oil with some garlic, ginger and chillies.
  • Add some rice wine, soy sauce, wine vinegar and sugar.
  • Keep stirring occasionally until the mixture starts to bubble.
  • Take a small bowl and make a corn starch slurry and add it to the mixture, stirring frequently.
  • Once the sauce begins to thicken, add the cooked chicken. 
  • Remove from heat once they are well coated in sauce.
  • Garnish with spring onions and serve.