And by haters I mean Erik. We all know about my love and obsession with Asian food – stir fry, Thai food, Chinese food, my beloved spring rolls – all of it. Over the years, Erik has just sucked it up with an “ew nasty” face and eaten it when I made it (and begrudgingly admitted it tasted fine) but now he’s starting to fight back and refuse. Korean chicken dish I wanted to try? “No.” Stir fried beef with shitakes and snow peas? “No.” Ginger chicken thing I made up over steamed rice? “No.” It all makes me want to smash a wok of fried rice over his head. But that would be a monumental waste of good fried rice.
I’ll admit that I sometimes feel like cooking for just me is silly. If I weren’t a married lady, there would be a lot of bowls of cereal or scrambled eggs and toast or handful of tortilla chips dinners going on because sometimes it’s not so fun to cook for one. But I’m taking a page from my friend Son (again) because he often just cooks for himself and he makes some pretty spectacular (and just plain beautiful) dishes. Why shouldn’t dinner be an occasion just for yourself? It should. So I briefly thanked the gods of Asian food love that Erik is still sick and not so interested in eating things yet and made myself some damn General Tso’s Chicken and vegetable fried rice. And spring rolls. And it made me happier than most dinner’s have made me in a long time. Truthfully, even if he had decided after all that he wanted some, I wouldn’t have let him have any. I’m a rude dude that way. ::evil laugh::
General Tso’s Chicken
recipe adapted from Joelen’s Culinary Adventures
chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces (I used 2 boneless skinless breasts which gave me enough for a fairly big dinner and lunch leftovers)
hoisin sauce, I think I used 1/2 cup (dunno, I eyeballed it)
regular white vinegar (hm 1/4 cup, perhaps a little less)
a few big shakes of soy sauce
a Tablespoon or so of sugar
couple Tablespoons cornstarch
minced garlic cloves
red pepper flakes
Coating: (I kept to the original measurements and had some coating leftover. Better too much than too little, I say)
3 egg whites
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
vegetable or canola oil, for frying
cooked white rice, or fried rice, and spring rolls whatever you want to serve it with
For the marinade, whisk the hoisin, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Pour some of the marinade into a ziplock bag. Add your chicken and toss the bag around a bit to coat all the chicken pieces. Let this marinate in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Set aside the remaining marinade in the bowl. Heat a couple Tablespoons of sesame oil in your wok until the oil is shimmery. Saute the garlic, red pepper flakes, and ginger for about 30 seconds. Add the marinade from the bowl to the wok and let it simmer until thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Whisk the egg whites until foamy. Set aside. In another bowl or shallow dish, combined the cornstarch, flour and baking soda. Drain your marinated chicken. Dredge the pieces in egg whites, then dip them in the cornstarch mixture. Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate to ready them for frying. In another pan or Dutch oven, heat up some oil. Fry the chicken pieces in batches until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Warm your sauce from the wok up, then place in a bowl. Toss the chicken pieces in the sauce. Serve over rice with the scallions as garnish, maybe with some spring rolls on the side. The little crispy chicken nuggets are amazing – the cornstarch is really the way to go to fry things up very light, airy and crisp. The coating just shatters in your mouth and it’s crunchy and hot and just wicked awesome. (wicked awesome? how’s that for being totally inarticulate? Whatevs. This chicken is amazing.