Thursday, January 19, 2012

General Tso's Chicken, a Recipe for Chinese New Year

*Updated January 20, 2012, with a recipe for Fried Rice (below)*

Monday, January 23, 2012, is Chinese New Year, otherwise known as the Spring Festival in China.  It is a major holiday in China, and so in honor of that celebration, I thought I would share with you a Chinese recipe.  We don't always have Chinese food on this holiday, but I do always remember it because my family lived in China for a few years, when I was in college, and I always loved hearing their stories of how they celebrated! {Read this post, by my sister, if you want to hear one such story}.

Our favorite Chinese dish {I guess I should say, American Chinese dish, because most Chinese food we eat here in America is nothing like the food you eat in China} is General Tso's Chicken.  You find it on just about every menu, usually with a hot pepper icon next to it.  There's just enough of a spicy kick to add some interest, and the sauce and crunchy chicken make it oh, so delicious!

This recipe turned out a bit different from what I'm accustomed to in a restaurant, but it was good just the same, and apparently more healthy.

General Tso's Chicken
Printable Version

1/4 cup cornstarch
1 pound snow peas
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 eggs
salt and pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a mixing bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Add garlic, ginger, soy sauce, snow peas, red pepper flakes, and brown sugar, and stir until combined.  Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk eggs, remaining cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Add chicken and toss to coat.

Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add the chicken pieces, shaking off excess egg mixture before placing in skillet.  Cook, turning occasionally, until golden, about 6-8 minutes.  Set aside.

Add snow pea mixture to same skillet, cover and cook until sauce has thickened, about 5-10 minutes.  Return chicken to skillet; toss to coat.  Serve with rice {or fried rice, if you're brave!}

 source: slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

Fried Rice

4 tablespoons oil (I use vegetable oil)
4 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup chopped scallions (optional, or sometimes I use diced onion)
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Heat the oil in a large skillet (it does not need to be a wok), add rice, scallions, soy sauce, and pepper.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, for 6 minutes.  Add the eggs and stir briskly so they cook and break into small bits throughout the rice.  As soon as the egg is set, remove and serve. 

(I sometimes also add about 1/2 cup cooked peas, 1/2 cup cooked diced carrots at the beginning with the rice mixture.  You can also add cooked chicken, shrimp, or pork to make the fried rice a meal all on its own).

source: The Fannie Farmer Cookbook


  1. Wow this looks really good! I think we decided to go out for Chinese on Monday, but I'm going to file this recipe away for another time:)

  2. I am coming over on Monday! That looks very yummy :)

  3. This looks so yummy! I just pinned it for future reference--but probably not very far in the future!

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