© Provided by SaveurThe Best General Tso's Chicken
Apricot jam lends a touch of sweetness, acidity, and color to this otherwise classic Chinese-American dish. The pectin in the preserves also gives it a glossy, alluring sheen.
Featured in: The Best General Tso's Chicken, No Delivery Required
Medium BowlSmall BowlLarge Plate or Baking SheetPaper TowelsWok or Large, Deep SkilletDeep-Fry ThermometerServing Platter
General Tso's Chicken
In this American Chinese classic, lightly battered chicken is tossed in a sweet, slightly spicy sauce. Though not traditional, apricot jam adds a welcome note of acidity and pop of color. © Provided by Saveur
Yield: serves 4
1½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
? cup plus 1 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup soy sauce, divided
½ cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. Shaoxing wine or sherry
2 Tbsp. apricot jam
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. canola or peanut oil, plus more for frying
1 Tbsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. grated garlic
¼ cup dried Tianjin or cayenne chiles
Toasted sesame oil, for serving (optional)
Thinly sliced scallions, for serving
Steamed jasmine rice, for serving
In a medium bowl, add the chicken, ? cup cornstarch, egg, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Toss well to coat, then set aside to marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, add the chicken stock, remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch, vinegar, wine, apricot jam, tomato paste, remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and ½ cup cold water. Whisk to combine.
Line a large plate or baking sheet with paper towels and set by the stove. In a wok or large, deep skillet fitted with a deep-fry thermometer, add enough canola oil to reach 3 inches up the sides of the wok. Preheat the oil to 375°F over medium-high heat. Working in batches, use your hands or a slotted spoon to lift the prepared chicken from the marinade, shake off any excess, and add to the oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy and cooked through, about 4 minutes per batch. Using tongs or a heat-resistant slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to the prepared plate. Repeat this process with the remaining chicken.
Discard the frying oil. Return the wok to high heat and add 2 tablespoons canola oil. When the oil is hot, swirl to coat the bottom and sides, then add the ginger and garlic. Stir-fry until the aromatics are fragrant but not yet browned, about 20 seconds, then stir in the chiles and cook until they begin to soften, plump, and turn a deep tobacco-brown color, 15-20 seconds more. Keeping your head away from the area above the stove, add the chicken stock mixture (it will sizzle and steam up violently). Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat to maintain a strong simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and glossy, 7-10 minutes. Return the chicken to the wok, stirring well to coat. Continue cooking until the chicken is heated through, about 2 minutes more. Remove the wok from the heat, then transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Drizzle with sesame oil (if using), top with scallions, and serve with rice.