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General Tso Chicken Recipe from NY Times Mag.

  • l

Since this great article last week in the NY Times Sunday Mag, I have been eager to try what is believed to be a more authentic version of the dish. I made it - it is great. Hot and sour may be even better than hot and sweet. Has anyone else tried this?


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  1. No, but it looks like that will be my cooking "project" next weekend...good God, it looks awesome! Do Asian markets normally sell potato flour? If so, I can probably find it at our nearby one. Today I'm grilling chicken in a spicy yogurt marinade; weather is picture perfect in Florida! Thank you for bringing that recipe to my attention, lyn!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Val

      You can usually find potato starch in the kosher section of supermarkets.

      1. re: Val

        Yes, just bought it at a local Asian market - Inexpensive too, a 14 oz bag of potato starch for 79 cents.

      2. The recipe does look amazing. I'm actually awaiting delivery of Ms. Dunlop's first book, "Land of Plenty." I plan to give it a try, as well.

        6 Replies
        1. re: FlavoursGal

          Dunlop's first book is fabulous. I especially loved the Lamb Polo.

          1. re: oakjoan

            Oakjoan, I can't find Lamb Polo, or any other lamb recipes, in Fuchsia's first book. I am a huge fan of Asian lamb dishes and would be grateful if you would help me find this recipe. Many thanks.


            1. re: Jim Washburn

              Oops. I was talking about the Hunan cookbook. Maybe that wasn't her first. Sorry. Will post a link or the recipe.

              1. re: oakjoan

                Oops again. Just found the site. It's UKTV. Lamb Polo is one of the recipes they offer. If you search for her name and UKTV it'll come up. Now all you need to do is to buy some black vinegar. Unless your kitchen is much better stocked than mine. Good luck.

                1. re: oakjoan

                  I believe that Chinese groceries have it. You could possibly use balsamic vinegar but I can't guarantee the result.

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    Thanks, oakjoan! I do keep a well stocked Asian pantry and have plenty of Chinkiang vinegar on hand. All I need is some lamb.


          2. actually I did not use potato flour (rather what I had on hand a little soy flour and corn starch mixture) or that concentrated tomato paste-just used the regular stuff. ..Otherwise I followed the recipe. Ok I garnished with some toasted sesame seeds. Typical General Tso's chicken is the only Americanized Chinese dish I admit to like, but this is even better I think as the Americanized version can be too gloppy and cloying.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lyn

              Yes, sadly, we Americans tend to ruin great dishes by making them too sweet...this is one of them! That's why I'm excited to see this recipe.

            2. Yes, Asian markets sell it, sometimes as Japanese style product labelled katakuriko, more often in plastic or cellophane 1 lb bags (along with the other starches, frying, crepe, etc. batters).

              1. In case the link doesn't work, here is the recipe:

                General Tso’s Chicken

                (In this Taiwanese version, the dish is hot and sour and lacks the sweetness of its Americanized counterpart.)

                For the sauce:

                1 tablespoon double-concentrate tomato paste, mixed with 1 tablespoon water

                ½ teaspoon potato flour

                ½ teaspoon dark soy sauce

                1½ teaspoons light soy sauce

                1 tablespoon rice vinegar

                3 tablespoons chicken stock or water

                For the chicken:

                12 ounces (about 4 to 5) skinless, boneless chicken thighs

                ½ teaspoon dark soy sauce

                2 teaspoons light soy sauce

                1 egg yolk

                2 tablespoons potato flour

                1 quart peanut oil, more as needed

                6 to 10 dried red chilies

                2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger

                2 teaspoons minced garlic

                2 teaspoons sesame oil

                Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish.

                1. Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

                2. To prepare the chicken, unfold the chicken thighs and lay them on a cutting board. Remove as much of the sinew as possible. (If some parts are very thick, cut them in half horizontally.) Slice a few shallow crosshatches into the meat. Cut each thigh into roughly ¼ -inch slices and place in a large bowl. Add the soy sauces and egg yolk and mix well. Stir in the potato flour and 2 teaspoons peanut oil and set aside. Using scissors, snip the chilies into ¾ -inch pieces, discarding the seeds. Set aside.

                3. Pour 3½ cups peanut oil into a large wok, or enough oil to rise 1½ inches from the bottom. Set over high heat until the oil reaches 350 to 400 degrees. Add half the chicken and fry until crisp and deep gold, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate. Repeat with the second batch. Pour the oil into a heatproof container and wipe the wok clean.

                4. Place the wok over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons peanut oil. When hot, add the chilies and stir-fry for a few seconds, until they just start to change color. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds longer, until fragrant. Add the sauce, stirring as it thickens. Return the chicken to the wok and stir vigorously to coat. Remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil and top with scallions. Serve with rice. Serves 2 to 3. Adapted from “The Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook,” by Fuchsia Dunlop.

                1. I made this tonight, according to the attached recipe, and it was FANTASTIC. As delicious as it is unhealthy. Take a double dose of lipitor, and dive in!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: MarkC

                    Any chance this could be made without frying the chicken (fresh out of Lipitor this week!). Maybe grilled, poached, baked?

                    1. re: SLO

                      SLO, I haven't made the recipe yet (but definitely plan to), but part of the appeal of General Tso chicken is the crisp exterior of each morsel of chicken. There's nothing stopping you from not frying the chicken, however. The texture and mouthfeel will simply be different from the authentic preparation.

                      I've got a cholesterol problem, too, but I plan to make the recipe exactly as called for. I rarely deep fry anything, and a little bit can't hurt, right? That's what my grandfather used to say, anyway. :-))

                      1. re: FlavoursGal

                        Heh heh...I feel your pain SLO...I have a "self-imposed" low-fat diet but am willing to eat lentils all week in order to make this dish on Saturday and enjoy the authenticity of it!...I rarely fry anything but I WILL do this dish!

                        1. re: FlavoursGal

                          Me too, but I am goinmg to use skinless well trimmed chicken thighs and vegetable oil. Only animal fats contiain cholesterol so don't worry about it, and my chicken thighs will be trimmed of al visible fat.

                    2. call me crazy, but peanut oil does not have cholesterol. Sure the chicken does, not you are not frying in lard so It will not have anymore cholesterel than your baked skinless chicken, just more fat. The fact that you are not adding any sugar though is a good thing and surely balances it all out ;) I served this with steamed broccoli and pronounced it (in my mind at least) reduced carb Chinese.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lyn

                        Are you kidding? I am running to the store.

                      2. I made this the last Sunday. The dish came out great. The only problem I had was the potato fluor klomped (?) up in the tomato paste mixture, so I had to remove it. The peanut oil added amazing taste to the chicken, the garlic and ginger were outstanding. This is definitely a repeat show. What was I doing wrong with the potato fluor?

                        1. Okay, I'm making this Friday night, now to work on the rest of the menu!

                          1. Glad I found this thread, and hoping to revive it a bit. I've tried various substitutes for Dunlop's often-called upon potato flour (I've used potato starch, rice flour, etc.) but have not achieved the crispness I desire. Any hints/help for me?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: dimsumfan

                              I've only tried it with cornstarch the one time I made it but I thought it was pretty crispy.

                            2. We made this recipe tonight and it was wonderful. In appearance and taste it was very much like something you'd find in China. Rich in flavor, not sweet, very little sauce. It was a lot like authentic Sichuan food (not surprising as Hunan is nearby). It was nothing like the Americanized gloopy, heavily breaded monstrosity I've learned to avoid. (We found potato flour in Target!)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Brian S

                                Yes, not much sauce! And not sweet! I wondered if that was the way it should be (very little sauce). I did see Bob's Red Mill Potato Flour at an independent health food store recently...$5.00 for like 10 ounces!!! For me, not worth it since the cornstarch worked just fine, thank you. But, I will check out our Target next time I go...they surprised me by carrying Amy's Organic Palak Paneer (frozen meal) for $3.00...Publix sells it for $4.99!!!!

                                1. re: Val

                                  According to the NY Times article that accompanied the recipe, the dish was first invented in Taiwan by a famous chef who was born in Hunan. " 'Originally the flavors of the dish were typically Hunanese — heavy, sour, hot and salty,' he [the inventor] said'

                                  The recipe itself is preceded by this note "In this Taiwanese version, the dish is hot and sour and lacks the sweetness of its Americanized counterpart."