Monday, October 13, 2008

Not deep fried... but still tasty!

Tonight's recipe for dinner, Lighter General Tso's Chicken, took a leaner approach to a dish that is classically pretty caloric and deep fried.

Instead of deep frying the chicken, the cubed breast pieces are coated in a mixture of egg whites, cornstarch and the obligatory salt and fresh ground black pepper. Because there is a good amount of the chicken, you'll want to cook them in two batches in just enough oil to keep them from sticking - this way you won't drop the temperature in the skillet, trying to cram all of the pieces in, and they will be more likely to stay separate from each other. This light coating creates an almost ethereal golden crust as the chicken cooks - also note that you definitely want the excess cornstarch mixture to drip away, before you place the chicken inside the skillet, so it doesn't pool in the pan.

Once the batches were complete, we added halved snow peas that we tossed with a mixture of cornstarch, water, garlic, ginger, granulated sugar, soy sauce and flakes of crushed red pepper into the skillet. Once the sauce had a chance to thicken, the snow peas were bright and crisp-tender - the cooked chicken is then added back into the skillet to get lubed up with all that thick spicy sauce. That syrupy coating is slightly sweet, yet balanced well by the red pepper and salty soy - the aromatic bite from the fresh ginger is also worthy of being noted. We piled the chicken and snow peas on a bed of brown basmati rice to serve - feel free to cook your rice in whichever method works best for you, but the directions I gave were for the simple no-fuss method where there is no guess work involved.

While I'm sure we have never had a true and authentic version, for us, we were satisfied with the results we attained, especially for a lighter dish! Was is as good as a deep-fried version? Probably not, but did it cure a craving? It sure did its job!


  1. I always thought General Tso's chicken was always a bit overfried. That's why I always opted for the steamed chicken and take a piece or two from my dinner partners.

    This lighter version seems better and yummy. I am going to try it this weekend.

  2. My DH usually orders this when we go out, but I don't b/c I don't like all the extra heat they usually throw in there and it's usually drowned in oil. This looks like a tasty, light version and I like that I can control the amount of spice.

  3. KK - Yeah, it has always seemed a bit too heavy for us too.

    Lisa - Yes! Feel free to tone down the crushed red pepper to your taste.