This general tao chicken recipe rings with Chinese take out!
I recently ordered Chinese takeout and the general tao chicken I had was so disappointing. I figured I had to crack that nut and make one of my own. Boy was it worth the effort! It was everything great I remember from the first time I had it: Delicious crispy chicken in a tangy and spicy sauce on a bed of white rice. Gimme some more!
There are two key things that need to be executed right to get this recipe right: the crispy chicken & the perfect sauce.
First, make a marinade with kosher salt, ground Szechuan pepper and Chinese rice wine to imbue some flavor. Marinade your your chicken thigh bite sized pieces for 15-20 minutes.
The next step is to double dredge your chicken which will help making it crispier when frying, which is what makes a perfect general tao chicken!
To do so, pat dry your chicken and follow these steps for each of your chicken pieces:
- dust with flour
- Make an egg bath with beaten eggs and cover the chicken with excess removed
- Cover with flour with excess removed by tapping it on the side of your dish.
- Reserve in a large bowl
The key here is to cook your chicken during the first time your fry it at around 350F temperature for about 3-4 minutes.
Then, you let your pieces rest on an elevate tray and fry them again at around 390F. for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. This is where the batter darkens a bit and becomes extra crispy.
The perfect sauce
The perfect sauce is tangy, salty, spicy, sweet and sour. It’s a balance between soy sauce, rice cooking wine, rice vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil with chicken broth and corn starch to get the right thickness to glaze the chicken properly.
Combine this sauce with sautéed green onions, garlic, chilies and ginger, and you’re in business!
If you feel in heaven after the first bite, then you’ve beaten take out and have done the best general tao chicken recipe right!
- 2lb chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch bite size pieces
- 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
- 1 tsp of ground Szechuan pepper
- 2 tbsp of Chinese rice wine or Sherry
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 tbsp, corn starch
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Canola oil, to fry the chicken
- 1/3 cup dark soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Chinese Rice Cooking wine
- 1/4 cup Chinese rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- 2 tbsp green onion, minced
- 8 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 12 dried red chilis
- Trim your chicken thighs and cut into one inch bite size pieces.
- Mix together the kosher salt, Szechuan pepper and Chinese rice wine in a bowl.
- Add the chicken to the marinade and let rest for 15-20 minutes.
- In the meantime, preheat your Canola oil in a wok. To test the temperature of the oil, you can take a peeled garlic clove in the oil. It should sizzle as it cooks and come up to the surface. You can also take a thermometer and it should read 350F. You can leave your oil to low or simmer while you continue working on your chicken. Having hot enough oil will make the difference between a crispy crust vs. a soggy oiled one.
- Mix together the soy sauce, rice cooking wine, rice vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil, corn starch until blended. Add chicken stock and mix again. Reserve.
- Beat your egg in a small bowl and add flour in a deep dish.
- For each of your chicken pieces (you can do several pieces at a time): 1) Dust with flour 2) Egg bath with excess removed 3) Cover with flour with excess removed by tapping it on the side of your deep dish
- Make sure your oil is at 350F and put your chicken pieces to fry in the oil while making sure with a wooden spoon that they stay separated.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes and put them on an elevated tray to drain excess oil.
- Once drained, turn up the heat to get the oil to 390F and add the bamboo shoots first followed by your chicken pieces. Cook for around 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. You should expect a nice golden crust on your chicken. The idea with frying your chicken pieces twice is to first cook the meat at a lower temperature and then get the coating extra crispy during the second fry.
- Remove the pieces and drain any excess fat from chicken.
- To prepare the sauce, heat oil in a clean wok and add the garlic, the minced green onions, chilies and ginger. Mix for 2-3 minutes until fragrant over medium heat.
- Add the sauce mixture to your vegetables, then the broth.
- Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring continuously.
- Add the green onions and reserve until chicken is ready.
- Add your chicken and warm everything up while stirring
- Sprinkle chopped green onion and serve on a bed of white rice.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.