When I got home last Friday, after a few exhausting days of work, J showed me something he had discovered on YouTube– a really simple, no-budget instructional Chinese cooking video under the name “Cooking with Kai“. He showed me the video for orange chicken– just deep-fried chicken pieces in a simple sauce flavored with orange zest. Despite the fact that we rarely ever fry things at home, I was game. It looked pretty easy, but I had some reservations. I’m not the biggest fan of fruit in savory dishes (like pineapple on pizza, for example), so orange chicken isn’t my first choice. I decided to see what else Kai could cook, and to my delight, I saw he had a video on making one of my old Chinese takeout stand-bys– General Tso’s chicken. I couldn”t remember the last time I’d eaten it. Probably years ago. We didn’t eat Chinese takeout last time we were in the States, and I’m not sure if Chinese restaurants here (the few that exist) would have it because I think it’s more of an American Chinese food thing. But now I was going to make it myself, and Kai was going to show me how.
Yeah, deep-frying is kinda scary. I don’t think I’ve done it since I made fried eggplant over two years ago. That’s definitely a good thing– it’s not a skill I’d want to practice on a weekly basis. Sooo much oil.
The sauce components were chicken stock, sugar, vinegar (I used rice vinegar), sesame oil, cornstarch, and soy sauce. The recipe also called for hoisin sauce, which I don’t have, so I omitted it but was sure to add the soy sauce (which Kai says is optional). I also added a few drops of fish sauce that J bought on a whim. I sauteed some onion, garlic and ginger, added the sauce (it thickened up in seconds thanks to the starch!), and mixed in the fried chicken chunks. Done.
Doesn’t it look just like restaurant Chinese food? I was so proud! I opted for a side of broccoli instead of rice, and it went perfectly with the sauce. Even though I’m a frying amateur, the fried chicken came out well too. I can’t say whether it tasted exactly like something I’ve had in a restaurant, but it was really good! We in haled it. Frying takes time, but other than that this is an easy recipe that I’m sure I’ll use again in the future, when we want a treat.