Friday, May 20, 2011

General Tso Chicken Sauce - My Nemisis, My Love

As the title suggests, General Tso chicken is one of my all time favorite dishes and I could go on for days about why every one should eat this and love it too but also a feat I have yet to conquer.

There is a bit of controversy however surrounding the colour of the sauce and which one is better.
My humble opinion - RED!
Red sauce all the way.
You may also run across a brown sauce - not nearly as good, scratch that, I personally wont even eat it if its the brown sauce.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have called restaurants to inquire about this dish. (easily 30)

"Hi, how are you?  Good, I see you have General Tso's chicken.  I'm excited.  Could you please tell me what colour your sauce is?"'s where I have fingers AND toes crossed for the right answer...
"Brown? Oh (sadly), thanks anyway" Then I hang up nearly in tears!
Its especially strange when I walk into a restaurant asking the same question and turning to leave when I am let down.  Poor restaurant workers, they must think I'm crazy.  My poor family who wants to eat and now I have turned away likely another good place to eat because of my obsession.

The red sauce is like a safely guarded little secret.  Trust me, of only the 3 restaurants I have found (which by the way are at least 45 minutes from my house) I have asked repeatedly for some insight.  They won't give it to me!  I don\t want to start my own General Tso shop, I just don't want to have to drive 2 hours for dinner - but I will, and I have, and until I find out I will do it again and again.  Please just give me the recipe!!

I have scoured they internet too, none of them compare, I've tried, trust me.
But my quest may be nearly executed. Almost.

I found a recipe that isn't quite red, but yet mimics practically the same taste that I have grown so fondly of.
Hats off to Ricardo Larrivée of Ricardo & Friends on the FoodNetwork Canada.
You have given me hope of cracking the case.  And I will keep forging on until I can make it perfect, one day, one sweet day.

PS my boys couldn't get enough of this version and I passed it along to my mother the next day for her meal and she called me to tell me that her only regret....was that she didn't make more!

I'm Listening to: Pinch Me, Barenaked Ladies

General Tso Chicken Sauce (for wing, for thighs, for whatever else you want it on!) recipe adapted from the original found on the website

2 tsp. cornstarch

3 tbsp. soy sauce (I used sushi/sashimi soy sauce)
2 tsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. rice vinegar (mom used red wine vinegar)
3 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. sirachi (mom used dried chili flakes)
1 tsp. paprika
3 tbsp. water
1/2 c. sugar

In a bowl, whisk together the first 9 ingredients (up to paprika). Set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring 3 tbsp. water and sugar to a boil. Don't stir! Cook until the mixture turns golden. Add the oil/vinegar/spice mixture. Simmer until the caramel has dissolved and has become syrupy.

Place whatever chicken you have pre cooked into the sauce and toss to coat.

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1 comment:

  1. I used white wine vinegar and it worked too.