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3.07.2013

General Tso's Chicken

There's a debate going on in our house.


Actually, there are probably four or five debates going on in our house at any given time, many of which may never get resolved.  But I won't bore you with all the domestic details.

Except to say that for the record I'm NOT spatially-challenged, and I DO know how to efficiently load a dishwasher.  I mean, if my life depended on it I'm sure I could really apply myself.

Today's debate concerns the correct pronunciation of a certain Chinese classic:  the General's chicken.  Just who was this mysterious general?  Was he General Sew?  Or General TSew?  Or General Cho?  I like to think I'm fluent in Chinese, and I equate "ts" with "ch", even though I'm not sure what makes me think that's correct.  And if you're my husband, every letter is pronounced with stinging clarity, and that's the way it is.

But actually, do you really care?  The bottom line here is that General Tso's chicken is a classic Chinese food splurge, and my food dream take-out order wouldn't be complete without sweet and sour chicken, wonton soup, and some of this crispy, sticky-sweet goodness.

So when I came across this recipe for healthified poultry by General Tso, I jumped at the chance to recreate this dish at home.  And instead of fried chicken slathered in a sodium and MSG-heavy sauce, this recipe calls for baked chicken in a lighter sauce and served over brown rice.

No matter what you call it, General Tso's chicken always comforts my chubby food soul.  Here's hoping this does the job for you!


General Tso's Chicken
Adapted from Pinch of Yum
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1/8 c whole wheat flour
2 large egg whites
2 c crispy cereal, finely crushed (I used Kashi but you can also use Corn Flakes, Fiber One, etc)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 2/3 c water
1/3 c low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c organic apricot jam
3 tbs hoisin sauce
2 tbs cornstarch
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tsp canola oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 c brown rice, cooked

Preparation:
Heat the oven to 475 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, top with a wire rack, and spray the rack with cooking spray.

Spread the flour in a shallow dish or bowl.  Whisk the egg whites until foamy in a second shallow dish or bowl.  Spread the crushed cereal into a third bowl/dish.  Working in batches, dredge the chicken in flour, and shake off any excess.  Dip in the egg whites and then the cereal, pressing gently to adhere.  Lay the chicken on the prepared wire rack.

Spray the chicken with cooking spray, and bake until the coating is brown and crisp, about 12-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the water, soy sauce, jam, hoisin sauce, cornstarch, and vinegar together in a bowl.  Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flake, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Whisk in the soy sauce mixture, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat, cover, and keep warm.


When the chicken is cooked, return the sauce to a simmer.  Add the cooked chicken and toss to coat.  Serve over the cooked rice.


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