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Aug 23, 2008 09:01 PM

Deep frying Dunlop Debaucle

Disclaimer: I don't have an aversion to deep fried foods and view cooking failures as a learning experience.

I seriously screwed up Fuschia Dunlop's recipe for General Tso's chicken.

The potato flour in my marinade stuck in clumps to the chicken. I presume it's supposed to be an evenly coated batter. This came out super thick.

The same thing happened with my sauce. I stirred it as the chicken was frying and it wouldn't blend. I ended up removing a big ball of potato flour as I was in a hurry to get it into the wok.

This is my first time deep frying anything. What I am doing wrong? I noticed the cookbook calls for potato flour, but the recipe posted on serious eats ( as well as the video ( she calls for potato starch. I understand these to be two different things. Would the flour make things thicker than the starch? Could I be over mixing the marinade?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. There is no good Chinese food in my state, and I'm really invested in making it at home. Food should make people happy rather than give them a stomach ache :(

Here are some pictures of my failed product. Note the dark clumps of flour.

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  1. Well, from your photos, the dish looks fabulous! How did it taste? Did you eat it? I have mostly used corn starch for coating in Chinese-esque recipes and can't remember how I used the potato starch when I made the Dunlop recipes calling for it. I just checked and it was potato STARCH rather than flour.

    Did you dilute the starch in water or soy sauce to make a paste or was it sprinkled on the chicken dry? Did you mix a bit of water (liquid) into the starch or just dump it all in at once? It might need to be slowly mixed together to dissolve.

    Did people actually get stomach aches?

    2 Replies
    1. re: oakjoan

      Potato flour and potato starch are the same thing, I think. Just as corn flour is the British term for corn starch. My (UK) version of the book refers to potato flour, which I got in a small bag in the Asian supermarket.

      Dunlop does say you can use corn flour (starch) instead of potato (flour) starch.

      1. re: greedygirl

        Here in the US, there are two different products available - potato flour AND potato starch. Barmy just tried to make a marinade for the fish-fragrant pork, and ended up with a wad of potato glop, because he used potato flour. We also have potato starch - that worked fine!

    2. Despite your problems, you pictures look delicious.

      For the sauce, when you mixed the potato flour in with liquids, did you give it a quick stir with your finger prior to pouring it in to the main dish? If you prepped the sauce ahead of time, the potato flour would have sank to the bottom, thus a quick finger stir to re-incorporate the flour into the sauce is necessary.

      As for the lumpy batter, my best guess is that the potato flour had to be stirred into the chicken more evenly. Or maybe the proportions were off. Which of Dunlop's versions did you make? I think there are two versions.

      Like Oakjoan, I'm curious how your dish tasted since it looked lovely.

      Lastly, Dunlop was COTM. Here are some thread of other HC hounds who made this dish.

      Mother Dunlop thread:

      1. Ooh, I hate trying to incorporate corn starch and potato starch into liquid marinades! Here's my suggestion:

        Before you add the potato starch to the rest of the marinade (aka potato flour, as they are the same thing it seems), stir a splash of water into it, until it's a thick slurry. Then it won't be able to clump up in your marinade. Shouldn't be too much water to affect the recipe adversely, especially if you use *just* enough to make the starch liquidy, no more.