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General Tso's Chicken

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Does anyone make General Tso's Chicken, and if so do you have any twist on the sauce and presentation.
post #2 of 23
I've never found two places that make it the same.

I like a little orange juice in my sauce.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 23
I like to use Lemongrass, Oyster Sauce, and on occasion Fish Sauce/Nam Pla to add some depth of flavor.
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #4 of 23
I agree never saw it made same way twice, and was told by a lady from Chine there was no such General???:D
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post #5 of 23

Theory of General Tso's Chicken

Southern California's San Gabriel Valley, with well over one and a half million ethinc Chinese, has a in incredibly rich Chinese food scene including broad, authentic regional variety. It's probably the best in the world outside of China proper, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Here General Tso's Chicken" is remarkable for its absence.

General Tso's chicken is not a Chinese dish at all, but seems to have been created in the US in the late sixties or early seventies, on the east coast, during the first flush of Szechuan popularity. Somehow, it's become associated with Hunan style cooking. That's mystifying in that other than the presence of chili and oil, it's not like Hunan style food at all.

According to wiki "General Tso's Chicken commonly consists of dark-meat pieces of chicken that are battered, deep-fried and seasoned with ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Shaoxing wine or sherry, sugar, sesame oil, scallions, and hot chili peppers, and often served with steamed broccoli." (General Tso's chicken - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

If you were classifying it according to the "classic" rules of culinary taxonomy you'd probably call it an "regional - impromtu," or if you'll allow me some latitude to adjust old French rules to adapt to the our current American reality, an "ethnic - impromtu." In any case there seem to be a number of interpretations of both the original dish and its most popular form as described by Wiki. Still, they tend not to wander all that far afield.

I mean no criticism of Chef How's recipe, which sounds quite good. But his interpretation bears no resemblance to General Tso's chicken -- with the addition of three wildly divergent ingredients -- two of which are South Asian. So not only is it not Szechuan or Hunan but it isn't even Chinese. It begs the question of when a dish becomes something else.

So how much meaning is in the name of a dish?

How much varitation is allowed in a recently-created dish which was never "authentic" to begin with?

BDL
post #6 of 23
I don't make it or eat it, but my wife always orders it, and she says it's always 1. batter fried and 2. sweet. Other than those two things, it's never the same. She's native american, and always jokes about a chinese dish being named after a Navajo. Tso and Tsosie are very common Navajo surnames.

From Wikipedia:

General Tso's chicken is a sweet and spicy deep-fried chicken dish that is popularly served in American and Canadian Chinese restaurants where it is erroneously considered Hunan cuisine. The origins of the dish are unclear. The dish was previously largely unknown in China and other lands home to the Chinese diaspora.[1] Thus, General Tso's Chicken is most likely an American invention in the history of American-Chinese food.
The association with General Tso, or Zuo Zongtang, a Qing dynasty general and statesman, is unclear. The dish is atypical of Hunanese cuisine, which is traditionally very spicy and rarely sweet. Instead, the dish is believed to have been introduced to New York City in the early 1970s as an example of Hunan and Szechuan-style cooking.[1][2] The dish was first mentioned in The New York Times in 1977.[3]
post #7 of 23
I've read he was a historical figure, but that it's a modern dish from the restaurant scene. Shun Lee in NY claims they invented it in the 70s, but there are other restaurants with similar and equally unsubstantiated claims.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #8 of 23
None taken BDL, I usually take the "classic" base of sugar, soy, chili, Ginger, garlic and add to that. As said before I could go to 10 different Chinese restaurants and get 10 versions. I happen to like the depth and fresh top notes from what I add.
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
post #9 of 23
It's undoubtably a (relatively) modern American dish. Never heard of it this side of the pond.
Sounds bloody delicious though!!!:lips:
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
The reason I'm asking this question is because I always get a Molasses taste. I guess its from the Black Soy. I like the idea of the Oyster sauce and some fish sauce and have that contrast with chile sauce for some heat. All the recipes have garlic and ginger and regular soy. I think green onion and slivered red pepper for a garnish would look great with a deep black sauce over white rice or Broccoli.......

Thanks for all the help.............You guys always have great ideas. I know we could always look up recipes and get the idea of how something is made. All the Chefs on this site bring different ideas for the same recipe. I have learned something from every Chef I have ever met..........Thnaks Again................Bill
post #11 of 23
No worries Bill, I hope it comes out good.
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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post #12 of 23
i love that dish


i am pretty sure it is an american Chinese creation similar to sweet and sour pork.

but they are still delicious!
post #13 of 23
It hits all the triggers. fat, sweet, salty, spicy.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #14 of 23
Here in Florida I go to many chinese style buffet restaurants. The sweet and sour, sesamee, and generals chicken seem to be all the same but with different sauces. Always boned thigh meat , always batter fried.
Oh well only here in Florida anything goes , have I had Lo-Mein made out of Linguini. If you did that up North you would be subject to Chinese Water Torture.:lol:
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post #15 of 23
Billy B...

Why didn't you ask the NY boy last time we spoke??!!

The BEST I've ever had is from a local guy here in Central FL. The chicken thighs are boned and fried crisp but with no breading. He uses the wok to get the skin crispy.

His sauce, which is what makes it, is done with the black soy, ginger, some other seasonings and the ingredient that makes it all come together... orange rind and orange juice. He gets the rinds crispy by frying and the small infusion of the orange juice gives the chicken a unique flavor. He can make it hot or mild through the addition/deletion of those small chinese hot peppers that can burn through steel.

It's the best I've ever had and yes, everyone makes it different but for my friend Steve's General Tso's... I'd drive the 3000 miles!
post #16 of 23
General Tso's Sweetbreads mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Doug, Doug, Doug My Boy,???? do I go to the store and ask for a Btl of (some other seasonings.)..............I like the Idea of the fried orange rid for garnish with green onions...............So far I have come up with this recipe. Would you Chefs rip this a part for me. I will be making this for a Lunch special in our food service on Wed of this week.... I will let you know how it comes out..............Bill

2 cups Black soy
1 cup Rice viniger
2/3 cup of Chinese rice wine
1 cup sugar
1 cup minced ginger
2/3 cup garlic
3 cups chicken stock
Thicken with corn starch and water
Chili flakes as needed for heat

I plan on starting with this and adding oyster sauce and a bit of Fish sauce for some saltyness, orange juice for a bit a citrus, greated fried orange peel and green onions for garnish
post #18 of 23
Be sure to put the fish sauce in as you are sauteeing the ginger and garlic. Deglase with the fish sauce and then add your stock, thats how I do it when I make mine. I use the Oyster sauce in place of salt so it goes in at the end for some underlying hidden flavor.
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
post #19 of 23
[QUOTE do I go to the store and ask for a Btl of (some other seasonings.[/QUOTE]

That was the problem as everyone loved Steve's rendition but it was HIS recipe so the exacts were never told, not even to friends!!

The key elements though were the unbreaded chicken thighs and the orange rind which he cooked well enough in the fryer to give off a tangyness to it; not sweet but definitely orange. From my flavors tasted, there was some juice in the sauce, which was thick and syrupy.

I'm doing my best for you Billy boy...:D
post #20 of 23

I was thinking of this thread in light of a number of books I've read over the last year or so that make particular claims about the history of General Tso's Chicken.

 

This won't answer the question of origin as it probably can't be settled from available evidence, but will present the dominant views from quality sources.

The Shun Lee Cookbook by Michael Tong In this cookbook, he claims that General Tso's Chicken was a creation of their restaurant, specifically by T. T. Wang in the early 1970s. He doesn't provide much other information.

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8 Lee and Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook: Recipes From Hunan Province by Fuschia Dunlop both indicate creation by Chef Peng at Peng's Restaurant, a competing restaurant to Shun Lee. Fuschia Dunlop provides quite a bit of story for Chef Peng.  Jennifer Lee travels to meet Peng in China and her reported version of events diverges somewhat from what Dunlop reports.

Jennifer 8 Lee give a worthwhile 20 minute summary of her book in this fun TED talk.http://www.ted.com/talks/jennifer_8_lee_looks_for_general_tso.html

Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking by Eileen Yin Fei Lo gives a different back story for the dish based on a traditional Hunan dish known as Ancestral Meeting Hall Chicken. In this version, the Tso name comes from transliterating the Chinese words.

Certainly the world has seen similar ideas arise at separate locations at similar times before.

It wouldn't surprise me that Wang and Peng were both inspired from the Ancestral Meeting Hall Chicken and created versions of sweetly sauced fried chicken that would be popular with Americans.

 

 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #21 of 23

As for "twists on the presentation" i've always been a fan of de-stir-frying chinese dishes. I could give it a shot sometime soon.

post #22 of 23

Brown sugar, lots of ginger, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, and dried chilies.  I normally do it with pork tenderloin uncoated.  Turns out very nice.

post #23 of 23

Billy

 

The KEY ingredient that my guy used were those caramelized orange rinds and it was the noted flavor in his presentation.   Your recipe sounds goods but the rinds were not a garnish, they were KEY to create the flavor in the sauce.   The little bite of the bitter orange was outstanding and they were also crunchy.  When I did ask him about it, he did those FIRST in the oil and then added the chicken thighs creating the orange infused oil for the cooking.

 

Worth a shot...

 

Doug

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