General Tsos

photo-3Asian food is probably one of my favorite types of food. Since I was a little girl I have always gotten so excited to hear my parents say “lets go to the Golden Palace” (my childhood Chinese restaurant in Sanford, Maine that is now sadly closed) I used to get sesame chicken almost every time. As I’ve gotten older I’ve fallen more in love with spicy foods and so now-a-days my go to is General Tsos! My local Charleston SC spot is called Red Orchid Bistro, a hole in wall joint that has amazing quality food and even a baby grand piano for their live jazz nights… whoa.

Anyways, Red Orchids is kinda pricey and as a very poor person looking for a bargin, I decided it was time to cook asian food at home. Forget those crappy mixes and pouches and baggies filled with processed sauces full of corn syrup and fake colors and asian “wanna-be sauces”… I must make it from scratch. I started with this recipe from one of my go-to food apps Food Gawker, and I must say, its amazing.

The original recipe is from Alyson’s awesome blog, DomesticSuperhero.com and calls for tofu, WHICH is the best way to cook tofu ever in the whole damn world. It is slightly crunchy on the outside yet moist on the inside and doesn’t have that weird slimy texture. It tastes JUST like Red Orchids, and of course that makes me super happy that I only spent about like $5 to make this entire pot of goodness… I have experimented and make it with chicken, and for the first time tonight, steak. All i can say is..yes. 10 out of 10 for this one right here. Below is my version/take on Alyson’s recipe.

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Excuse my iPhone snaps. Real photos will come soon enough 🙂

For now…. enjoy your own homemade General Tsos with some sticky white rice!

General Tsos

Ingredients:

  •  For Tofu:
  1. 1 brick extra firm tofu
  2. 3-4 TBS cornstarch
  3. 1-2 TBS canola or vegetable oil
  • For Chicken or Steak
  1. About 2 chicken breasts or a package of thin steak meant for marinating or stir fry.
  • For the Sauce:
  1. 2-ish Tablespoons of honey *or 1/4 cup of brown sugar*
  2. 3 TBS hoisin sauce
  3. 1.5 TBS rice vinegar
  4. 2 TBS ketchup
  5. 2 TBS soy sauce
  6. 1/4 cup water
  7. 3 shakes of red pepper flakes *if you like spicy*
  8. 1 heaping teaspoon of Huey Fong Chili Garlic Sauce *if you like spicy*
  9. Big ole squirt of Sriracha  * if you like spicy…as you’ve probably noticed by now…I do*
  10. 2- 3 teaspoons of sesame seeds.
  11. 4 green onions, chopped
  12. 1-2 or 3 TBS fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated depending on how much you like ginger….

 

Gotta add a side of veggies:

  1. Half an onion, chopped and steamed
  2. Variety of fresh steamed veggies ( I prefer colors, so this time I used 1/2 an orange pepper, 1/2 a red pepper, and fresh asparagus.

 

Instructions if using Tofu:

  1.  Drain tofu of excess water pressing between the counter and heavy object. **I use 2 clean kitchen towels, one folded up the size of the tofu brick on the bottom (place under tofu), and then one on top. Then I place my cast iron pan on top of the top towel, and sometimes place something else in the pan to hold it down. You do not want the tofu to collapse, if it’s breaking take some weight off. Let sit 20 minutes. to drain**
  2. While waiting for tofu, mix together the first 7 ingredients and set aside.
  3. Heat a skillet on medium with about a 1/4 inch of vegetable oil inside. While heating, slice tofu into 1/2″ slices, then cut each slice into triangles. Coat each cube lightly with cornstarch and then place into pan until browned and crispy. You may have to turn up the heat under the pan a bit. Remove from frying pan and set aside on paper towels.

Instructions if using Chicken or Steak:

  1. Salt and pepper meat and pan fry with a bit of olive oil and soy sauce just until cooked, slice into thin stripes and set aside.
  2. After meat cools, toss lightly in cornstarch and fry in a small amount of veggie oil on med/high until lightly browned or crispy.  This step is NOT necessary, but it sure does make that meat extra tasty.

Instructions for sauce:

Measure out all sauce ingredients and add to pan. bring to a boil, and simmer about 2 minutes. Add tofu/meat back to mixture, toss to coat. Top with additional raw green onions if desired. If you like a thicker sauce, dissolve cornstarch in hot water and slowly add to sauce…a tiny bit at a time, stirring constantly until you reach the consistency desired 🙂

Now plate up a delicious stack of rice, saucy meat, or tofu, and top with delicious crisp steamed veggies. ENJOY! *and have 2nds*

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