I really need to develop the habit of taking photos of food before I eat it, but it tastes so good I can’t help myself. Honestly, you try to spend a day in the kitchen preparing food, cooking the food, serving the food, and then stop to take a good photo or two. I can’t do it and I applaud those who can, you either have some strong willpower or you eat throughout the day. Until I develop that habit or find a photographer who works for food and can show up at odd hours (I don’t cook on a schedule of any kind), you will have to take my word.
So allow me to tell you, the General Tso’ Chicken and following General Tso’ Chicken Wings were great. I understand why pan frying chicken is both a pain and better than using a fryer. At least that is my epiphany. The pain part came from the splattering hot oil and from the clean up; the better part came from the chicken that tasted better than any I have fried in the fryer. That could be a placebo effect from having spent all day skinning, trimming, cutting, battering, frying, and finally eating the chicken. That could also be the realization that while I have to clean off the stove top and pan I do not have to clean the fryer. Ever clean a fryer? I have, not as much fun as using the fryer.
General Tso’ Chicken comes in many varieties, I have had spicy, tangy, sweet, sweet and spicy, and so on. Around here I make a sweet sauce for the family who is fearful of red sauces-fine the children are fearful of most red foods that I make and eat. For myself I like to have some heat. The sauce from The Chinese Takeout Cookbook is what I started with, but the family found the sauce to hot-I think they taste phantom heat in anything red.
Here is what I have done to modify the sauce into something sweeter for the family:
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of ketchup instead of tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon soy
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar or when I want tang apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon hoisin
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil instead of 1 teaspoon
- 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce (sriracha in a pinch) instead of 1 teaspoon
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar instead of 1 tablespoon
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
That makes a sweet General Tso’ sauce. To add heat I up the sesame oil, chili sauce, downplay the sugar, and add two chili peppers to cook with the sauce.