Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The General

I received a new pan yesterday so why not christen it right away? Meet the General:
Surprisingly despite all the stuff I have in my kitchen (ice cream maker, christmas shaped ice cubes, pancake pen, cupcake corer) I lack a great many things. Like a pan that can go in the oven/under the broiler (enter the General!), or ramekins for yummy desserts, or a decent sharp knife (seriously, I'm surprised I still have all my fingers). The General is oven/broiler proof (woo!) and it was the perfect shape/height to try out some light frying which will never occur in my kitchen again. For starters, it was scary (like making caramel scary), secondly how can you tell if it's done? (hellooooo food poisoning), um it's not really healthier if you're frying it yourself right? (haha, nope), and holy heck the mess (it's fine, my stove top needed a good scrubbing anyway, and now I know there won't be a grease fire). Oh yeah, it was also time consuming because you had to do it little batches. However the end result was delicious. But I won't make it again for the previously mentioned reasons but I will be keeping it for the sauce recipe which was to die for. It wasn't as spicy as a restaurants  but that is easily corrected. In fact I made a second half batch to put on the leftover rice. Speaking of the rice, I cheated and got it from the chinese place downstairs. I also used small pieces of chicken breast because it's what was in the freezer and I figured it would be easier to cook without dying of food poisoning but because of my paranoia some of the smaller pieces were a little overcooked and dry. Side-note: I have not been feeling creative with any of my photographs/they all suck and that makes me sad. I'm in the same boat with baking. Right so General Tso's Chicken, hence how the pot got it's name. 
General Tso's Chicken
(Tasty Kitchen Website)
For the Chicken:
1-½ teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 whole Large Egg White
¼ cups Plus 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1 pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
Canola, Peanut, Or Vegetable Oil For Frying
For the sauce:
1 Tablespoon Peanut, Canola Or Vegetable Oil
2 cloves Garlic, Peeled And Minced
2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Ginger Root
1 cup Chicken Broth Or Stock
¼ cups Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1 teaspoon Chinese Chile-garlic Sauce
3 Tablespoons Raw (turbinado Or Demerara) Sugar
For serving:
4 whole Scallions, Thinly Sliced
Steamed Rice
Steamed Broccoli
1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the sesame oil, soy sauce, egg white, and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cornstarch until a thick slurry forms.
2. Add the chicken pieces and stir until all are evenly coated. Set chicken aside, covered lightly with plastic wrap, at room temperature for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the tablespoon of oil to a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat. Stir the garlic and ginger into the oil and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining sauce ingredients until smooth. Pour into the garlic and ginger, stirring, until the sauce becomes thick and shiny. Once the sauce thickens, lower heat and keep the saucepan over a low burner partially covered to stay warm.
5. Heat 1/2-inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed, high-sided frying pan or skillet over high heat.
6. When the oil is shimmering, add one piece of chicken at a time, taking care not to crowd the pan. Cook chicken for 4 minutes on each side, or until deep golden brown and crisp on both sides.
7. Transfer the fried chicken to a paper towel lined plate and repeat the process until you’ve cooked all the chicken.
8. Then slide all of the fried chicken into the prepared sauce and toss to coat. (If desired, add some steamed broccoli to coat with the sauce also.) Increase the heat to medium, stir and cook just until hot all the way through.
9. Sprinkle with sliced scallions and serve immediately over white rice.

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