General Tso's Chicken | serves 2 to 3
This Taiwanese version of General Tso's chicken is "rather different from the one you're used to," says Fuchsia Dunlop, Chinese food expert and author of Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes from Hunan Province. Lacking any sugar, it is not sweet like the American version.
Ingredients for the sauce: 1 tablespoon double-concentrate tomato paste, mixed with 1 tablespoon water 1/2 teaspoon potato starch (corn starch can be substituted) 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce 11/2 teaspoons light soy sauce 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 3 tablespoons chicken stock or water
Ingredients for the chicken: 12 ounces (about 4 to 5) boneless, skinless chicken thighs 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce 2 teaspoons light soy sauce 1 egg yolk 2 tablespoons potato starch (corn starch can be substituted) 1 quart peanut oil, more as needed, for frying 6 to 10 dried red chile peppers 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger 2 teaspoons minced garlic 2 teaspoons sesame oil Scallions, sliced thinly, for garnish.
Rice, for serving
1. Make the sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, and set aside.
2. Make the chicken: Unfold the chicken thighs; lay on a cutting board. Remove as much of the sinew as possible. (If some parts are very thick, cut in half horizontally.) Slice a few shallow crosshatches into the meat; cut each thigh into roughly 1/4-inch slices, and place in a large bowl. Add the soy sauces and egg yolk; mix well. Stir in the potato starch and 2 teaspoons peanut oil; set aside.
3. Using scissors, snip the chile peppers into 1/4-inch pieces, discarding seeds. Set aside.
4. Pour 3 1/2 cups peanut oil into a large wok or deep saucepan or enough oil to rise 1 1/2 inches from the bottom. Set over high heat until oil reaches 350 to 400 degrees. Add half the chicken; fry until crisp and deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a plate. Repeat with second batch of chicken. Pour oil into a heatproof container, and wipe the wok or saucepan clean.
5. Place wok or saucepan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons peanut oil. When hot, add chile peppers and stir-fry for a few seconds, until they just begin to change color. Add the ginger and garlic; stir-fry for a few seconds longer, until fragrant. Add the sauce, stirring as it thickens. Return chicken to wok, and stir vigorously to coat. Remove from heat; stir in the sesame oil, and top with scallions. Serve with rice.