Sunday, May 9, 2010
Poker Night At The Lake...General Tso's Chicken
Let's face it, when you live by a lake, sometimes things get pretty slow. I haven't made too many friends since I've been here and frankly, that has been by choice. Luckily, we have been blessed with wonderful young neighbors who are lots of fun and keep me entertained with outings on the lake and what have you. One of the things I miss dearly though is playing cards. I am a bridge player and used to play at least twice a week when I lived in New York and Miami. Now I play on the computer, but that gets kind of boring sometimes. I miss the feel of the cards in my hands. I have found a duplicate group nearby and next week I think I'll check it out. Unfortunately, duplicate bridge these days is full of, shall we say, older people? Not very conducive to fun, especially on weekends!
Last Saturday I organized a poker game here at the house and what better food to serve my friends than Chinese. One of my neighbors adores General Tso's chicken and Chinese takeout is hard to come by where we live. You may have noticed the abundance of Chinese recipes here on the blog and that is for a good reason...if and when we want Chinese the only way to get it is by cooking it ourselves.
There are two versions of General Tso's chicken. On one the chicken is coated and deep fried and on the other it is simply stir fried. The traditional one and the one served most often in Chinese takeouts is the former and that is the one I served last weekend. Both are wonderful so when you want a lighter version, go for the stir fried.
This recipe, although classified as Hunan, is really an American invention. You will be hard pressed to find it in China. You will also have a hard time finding it in most good Chinese cookbooks. The recipe below is Martin Yan's stir fried version
Makes 4 servings
3 tablespoons Chinese rice wine
or dry sherry
1-1/2 tablespoons oyster-flavored sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs,
cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon regular soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons cooking oil
6 small dried red chilies
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 green onions, cut into 1 inch lengths
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried red chilies
1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl. Place chicken in marinade and turn to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl.
Place a wok over high heat until hot. Add oil, swirling to coat sides. Add chilies and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add chicken and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, green onions, and crushed chilies; stir-fry for 1 minute.
Add sauce and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add cornstarch solution and cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens.
Place chicken on a serving plate and sprinkle with peanuts.
This recipe was slightly changed on 10/26/10